School is out for graduating apprentices

Dec 18, 2015

School is officially out for nine Victorian apprentice jockeys who successfully graduated from Racing Victoria’s (RV) Apprentice Jockey Training Program (AJTP) in a ceremony held at Moonee Valley Racecourse last night.

The graduation ceremony was a fitting finale to the talented group’s training at RV, with each young athlete graduating with a Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey) as well as a Certificate III in Fitness.

The AJTP aims to develop professional athletes for an international career in the racing industry and is conducted with partners including the Victorian Institute of Sport and Exercise Research Australia.

Apprentices were put through their paces under the watchful eye of RV’s Jockey Coaches, retired jockey Matthew Pumpa and former Victorian trainer Matthew Hyland; Jockey Wellbeing and Safety Officer, Ron Hall; and Athlete Development and Industry Careers Advisor, Melissa Weatherley.

Specialist skill delivery in race riding and performance analysis, sports science and nutrition, media and business skills are also provided throughout the course to ensure individuals are well equipped for both their time in the saddle and pursuits in their life after racing.

RV Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, congratulated the graduating class of 2015 and said he was confident their success on the racetrack would continue as they progress throughout their career in the industry.

“On behalf of the entire industry, I’d like to congratulate these nine apprentices on completing their formal studies as part of Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program,” Saundry said.

“It’s been a pleasure to watch these young jockeys flourish throughout the four years of their formal training, both in the classroom at Racing Victoria and out on the track where they have each experienced success already.

“Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program is globally recognised as a world-leading high performance program, and I’m confident that it has helped equip these athletes with the requisite skills to become stars of the saddle, and more importantly, well-rounded and respected individuals off the track in all aspects of their lives.”

Two coveted awards, the Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) Outstanding Apprentice Jockey and the Andrew Gilbert Principles of Sports Science Award, were also presented on the night.

The Outstanding Apprentice Jockey Award was presented to Patrick Moloney, a winner of more than 220 races, including 83 metropolitan meetings, who is the only jockey of his class to achieve the rare feat of out-riding both his provincial and metropolitan claim.

The 22-year-old who made his race-riding debut in July 2012, also displayed exemplary testing results with Exercise Research Australia (ERA and was awarded the Principles of Sports Science Award, named in honour of Victorian apprentice Andrew Gilbert who tragically lost his life in a race fall at Benalla in 2001.

The 2015 graduating class is as follows:

- Chris Caserta: The 20-year-old is apprenticed to trainer Wez Hunter at Mornington and rode 22 winners during his time in the AJTP;

- Jordan Childs: The 19-year-old is apprenticed to trainer Patrick Payne at Plumpton and rode 145 winners during his time in the AJTP;

- Michael Dee: The New Zealand-born 19-year-old is apprenticed to trainer Mick Price at Caulfield and has ridden 54 winners since joining the AJTP at the start of 2015;

- Jack Martin: The 20-year-old is apprenticed to Pat Carey at Mornington and rode 26 winners during his time in the AJTP;

- Patrick Moloney: The 22-year-old is apprenticed to his father, trainer Gerard Moloney, at Caulfield and rode 220 winners during his time in the AJTP;

- Samantha Noble: The 20-year-old is apprenticed to her father, trainer Steven Noble at Seymour, and rode 12 winners during her time in the AJTP;

- Jessica Payne: The 23-year-old is apprenticed to trainer Greg Eurell at Cranbourne and rode 63 winners during her time in the AJTP;

- Nathan Punch: The 20-year-old is apprenticed to trainer Robbie Griffiths at Cranbourne and has ridden 6 career wins to date;

- Brooke Sweeney: The 20-year-old is apprenticed to Wangaratta trainer John Ledger and has ridden 66 career wins to date

All nine jockeys will remain apprentices for a period lasting four years from their race debut, with options available to extend this.

A new crop of prospective apprentice jockeys will begin AJTP classes at RV next month where they will be officially inducted.