New initiatives for Vic apprentice jockeys

The recent suspension of apprentices Tom Sadler and Regan Bayliss has highlighted the workload of young jockeys and prompted Racing Victoria to introduce initiatives to cut back their hours in the saddle.

Sadler was suspended for three weeks for a ride at Caulfield last month when he was found guilty of failing to give his horse the chance to obtain the best possible finishing position while Bayliss was suspended on a careless riding charge last Saturday.

Victorian Jockeys’ Association (VJA) chairman Stephen Baster said after the Bayliss suspension the long hours apprentices were working was an accident waiting to happen.

On Friday the chief executives of Racing Victoria, the Australian Trainers’ Association and the VJA met to discuss the wellbeing, workload and development of apprentice jockeys in the context of the current racing program.

A number of initiatives aimed at maintaining an appropriate and healthy work-life balance, while furthering their skills and career development as a rider will be brought in.

“We have unanimously agreed on a series of short-term initiatives in the best interests of the wellbeing, workload and development of apprentice jockeys,” RV chief executive Bernard Saundry said in a statement.

“In addition, we will collectively spend the next six months undertaking a more thorough review of all aspects of an apprentice jockeys employment and seek industry input on what is the best future model.”


* The number of consecutive days an apprentice can ride reduced from nine to six

* Apprentices banned from riding at two meetings on one day

* A commitment to educate and reinforce the importance requiring apprentices to receive a 10-hour break between their commitments from one day to the next

* Education sessions with apprentices, their employer (trainer) and rider agent on how to best manage the rider

* A review to consider the most appropriate long-term conditions and terms of employment for apprentices


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