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 Australian Racing News 
Tuesday, June 13 2017

Racing Victoria (RV) on Wednesday announced important changes to the health, well being and working conditions of apprentice jockeys following a joint-review commissioned by RV, in consultation with the Australian Trainers’ Association (ATA) and Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA).

RV commissioned lawyer Peter Randles to author a report providing feedback and, where relevant, any necessary recommendations to help improve matters concerning an apprentice’s employment, fatigue management and career advancement.

These recommendations follow changes announced by RV last year which included a reduction in the number of days an apprentice can ride in succession from nine to six and a prohibition on apprentices accepting rides at both a day and a twilight/night meeting on the same day.

RV, in consultation with the ATA and AJA, have all agreed to adopt the below list of recommendations in a bid to strengthen the industry’s support of apprentice jockey welfare and development.

1) Raise the minimum age at which apprentices can start riding from 15 to 16.

2) Set the number of minimum winning rides at 20 before an apprentice can engage a jockey agent. This rule will apply to current apprentices without an agent who have ridden less than 20 winners and to all future apprentice intakes.

3) That in January of each year, RV will;
• a. Welcome Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from people wishing to apply into the Apprentice Jockey Training Program (AJTP) for the following year.
• b. Maintain a record of these and ensure that all applicants are a registered stable hand.
• c. In the 12 month period prior to their intake, provide registered applicants with the opportunity for feedback from the apprentice jockey training team regarding their riding skill and athletic development.

4) That the Deed of Apprenticeship be amended. In summary, the main amendments will be to reinforce to all participants the importance of being vigilant to the health and wellbeing of apprentices, and in particular, the overseer role played by the trainer, guardian and jockey manager in this regard. Under the new agreement, all original trainers will also be eligible for ongoing payments following an apprentice jockey’s transfer from one trainer to another, provided the apprentice has completed 18 months of the apprenticeship with the original trainer. The original trainer will be entitled to a minimum amount of 6.25 per cent of payments ongoing for the duration of the apprenticeship.

5) That all jockey managers who currently do or wish to manage apprentices in the future, will be required to undergo an RV accredited training course on fatigue and related issues.

RV Athlete Development and Industry Careers Advisor, Melissa Weatherley, said the report contained sensible reforms that would seek to further protect the wellbeing of apprentice jockeys.

“They are sensible recommendations, which identify responsible and improved areas of development in areas such as RV’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program, working hours, minimum age requirements and fatigue management,” Weatherley said.

“Not only do they seek to provide guidance and direction for jockeys during their apprentice training, but also to support them in undertaking further education and training to prepare for a transition into post-riding careers.”

RV Executive General Manager - Racing, Greg Carpenter, said it was important to maintain best industry practices by undertaking regular reviews into the training and development of apprentices.

“RV is pleased to announce it has begun implementing these key recommendations outlined in the Randles Report and looks forward to putting these reforms into practice,” Carpenter said.

“It is important that we undertake these reviews on a regular basis in order to ensure that we continue to meet best industry practice.”

VJA CEO, Matt Hyland, said he supported any approach to advance the training and development of young jockeys so that they’re well prepared for the future both inside and outside of the industry.

“The VJA welcomes the introduction of these new recommendations to help support apprentice jockeys, especially those as young as 16,” he said.

“It is not only important to foster and nurture their career development while racing, but also just as important to focus on the opportunities available to them in the long-term, whether that’s inside the industry or in a completely different vocation elsewhere.”

ATA CEO, Andrew Nicholl, said the ATA and member trainers were happy to contribute to this exercise in a meaningful way.

“We are really pleased to have arrived at mutually beneficial outcomes in terms of the adopted reforms,” Nicholl said.

“Firstly, from the apprentices’ viewpoint, one designed to promote greater balance between their work and wellbeing. Secondly, a reinforcement of the responsibility of not only the trainer in that equation, but also the guardian and jockey manager. And lastly, agreement to provide ongoing financial earnings for trainers, rewarding the many hours invested in educating apprentices in their formative years notwithstanding that the apprentice may move trainers in search of new opportunities.”                             

Posted by: AT 06:37 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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