Thoroughbred Racing South Australia | TAB Apprentice Academy.

Oct 10, 2019 | Reading Time: 3 minutes


Thoroughbred Racing SA has been educating jockeys since the early 1980s. The Academy has recently refreshed its branding to reflect the evolving landscapes of careers in racing and educating our younger generations and future participants. The program has recently introduced a new high performance training program using elite testing facilities based here in South Australia to help enhance the overall performance of the jockeys. 

Apprentices are taught a range of techniques and skills at the Academy to become competent and experienced riders whilst the high performance program assists with physical fitness and strength. 

TRSA’s Training Supervisor Briony Moore says that a typical day starts with students in the classroom. 

“We will sit down with the apprentice jockeys and begin to analyse and assess their previous races, and go through their race form and review the horse’s performance to ensure the jockeys have the right tactics in place leading up to their next race day.   

“From there, we will move out to the apprentice training room where we work on their practical skills, their physical fitness, riding techniques and their overall development,” she said.  

All students will complete a Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey) during their apprenticeship.

The 4-year course includes training in media, business and finance skills and sports science education, which includes training to monitor physical conditioning to assist apprentices in reaching their physical peak.

The High Performance Sports Centre offers the apprentices the opportunity to develop tailored, advanced training programs around their personal goals to help with their overall development.

Ex Apprentice, Raquel Clark, is the perfect example of what success can look like for an Apprentice jockey. Raquel was the Dux of the Apprentice Academy and as a result had the opportunity to ride in Singapore where she won a Group 3 race, The Silverbowl. Recently Raquel also won her first Group 2 race, The Danehill Stakes, aboard Dalasan. 

If you aren’t familiar with the term “Group Race” this means the level of recognition and status of the race. In Australia there are four classifications as seen below: 

  • Group 1 – minimum prize money A$350,000
  • Group 2 – minimum prize money A$175,000
  • Group 3 – minimum prize money A$115,000
  • Listed Races – minimum prize money A$80,000

Raquel acknowledges that there are many significant factors involved in becoming a jockey. You need to be extremely disciplined and want to work hard. You need to want to achieve the goals that you set yourself and be able to communicate well with owners and trainers. 

First Year Apprentice, Lizzie Annells knows this all too well. 

“I first started in the equine industry through Pony Club in my high school years and when I left school, I decided to begin Farrier training, which is shoeing horses.

“But I decided due to my size and my interest, I thought I’d give track riding a go,” she said. 

Lizzie hopes to get her race ride licence to ride in races and to ride a winner in her first year. 

“I’d just like to be competitive at the provincial level. I’m just riding trial rides at the moment. So that’s a big goal for me, “she said. Lizzy has since received permission to ride in races and has begun competing at Country non-Tab. 

Briony Moore says she sees significant changes in the apprentice jockeys over the duration of the apprenticeship.

“Their confidence grows, their skills develop. We pride ourselves in developing them as people and professional athletes to be able to cope with the pressures of racing,” she said. 

If you’re interested in becoming a jockey or learning more about Thoroughbred Racing SA’s TAB Apprentice Academy, head to their website today. 

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