Funding obtained for NZTR youth initiatives
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has obtained funding for four initiatives that will aid youth participation.
The projects involve the purchase of riding simulators for apprentice academies, a further rollout of the Ride To Time programme, the provision of safety gear for apprentice jockeys and a licence rebate for trainers under the age of 30.
The funding has been obtained from the New Zealand Racing Board’s Youth Enhancement fund, which was established this year.
The purchase of 10 new riding simulators, which will be spread over the six apprentice academies, will be a significant advance for both the apprentices and their riding coaches.
The current simulators are 20 years old, in need of regular repairs and not nearly as sophisticated as the current models.
The latest models have been developed by Richard Perham, the head riding instructor at the British Racing School, and designed to enhance balance, control, strength and fitness, which are key components for aspiring jockeys.
Two simulators will be bought for each of the academies at Pukekohe, Cambridge, Awapuni and Riccarton, with one apiece at Wingatui and Invercargill.
All locally-based apprentices who complete a probationary period and gain a class B apprentice licence, which allows them to ride on race day, will be given a skull cap and body protector.
The Ride To Time programme, which was successfully introduced with pilot programmes at Riccarton and Wingatui, will be extended to the North Island.
Two pilot courses will be held at North Island venues this spring and a full national programme will be scheduled for 2018. The programme is being staged in conjunction with the NZ Racing Board, racing clubs and the NZ Pony Clubs Association and the target is to involve 200 young riders from pony clubs and equine schools.
NZTR intends to provide a conditional full licence fee rebate for Class A and B trainers under the age of 30. There are 40 trainers who currently fit the criteria.
NZTR Chief Executive Bernard Saundry welcomed the funding from the NZRB. “Improving the apprentice jockey training programme and attracting more young people into the industry are key priorities for NZTR,” Saundry said. “The initiatives outlined here will all have real benefits.”