Policy and Procedure: Applications for Trackwork Raceriding Licence by an ex-Jockey or trackwork rider who was previously permanently injured
This document describes the policy and procedure Racing NSW (formerly Thoroughbred Racing Board - the "Board
") applies in considering an application for either a *jockey
or trackwork rider license (a "license
") by an ex-jockey/trackwork rider who has previously suffered a permanent injury.
*NB: Any reference to "jockey" in this document includes apprentice jockey, and approved/amateur rider.
PART A: POLICY
The Board is a statutory corporation constituted under the Thoroughbred Racing Act 1996 (NSW) (as amended) ( "the Act
"). Under the Act, the Board is duty bound to act in the public interest and in the interests of the horse racing industry as a whole (s11), has functions and powers with respect to insuring participants in the horse racing industry (s13(1)(d)) and licensing jockeys (amongst others) (s14(2)(b)). Such a licence is a prerequisite for a person to earn their livelihood as a jockey (Rules of Racing AR 81(1)).
The Board in exercising its discretion whether to grant a trackwork licence must determine if the applicant is able to carry out the inherent requirements of riding thoroughbred racehorses. Riding thoroughbred racehorses is a physically demanding and inherently risky enterprise. Jockeys/trackwork riders are required to control horses under a variety of track surfaces and conditions (eg. irregular or wet tracks). Jockeys/trackwork riders must be able to ride horses at varying stages of preparation in a balanced manner in all required gaits, including at full gallop (50 to 60 kph), sometimes in groups, and handle horses of different temperament and behaviour. In particular jockeys/trackwork riders should be able to control a bucking or "spooked" horse, loose or out of control horses, and be able to take appropriate corrective action. Jockeys/trackwork riders must be able to jump horses out of the starting barriers, comply with applicable track rules and regulations and applicable track hazards.
For an application of a full jockey (race riding) license, in addition to the requirements of a trackwork license, jockeys must be able to jump a horse from the barrier under race conditions, attempt to gain a preferred position in the field (near the rail), control and manoeuvre the horse at full speed in a large field, find and navigate gaps and use a whip in one hand with both reins in the other. Importantly, jockeys must attempt to win the race competing against all other jockeys.
In exercising the discretion whether to grant or regrant a Jockey/Trackwork license, the Board can legitimately take into account the considerations listed below (in bold). How those considerations can apply to an applicant who in the past has been declared permanently physically unfit to ride thoroughbred racehorses is also set out. Those considerations and how they apply are:
1. The physical size, weight and strength of the applicant and his or her current physical and medical condition as it affects his or her ability to ride thoroughbred horses (supported by LR 59(1)).
As is the case for all applications for a license, the onus is on the applicant to satisfy the Board that this criteria is satisfied at the time of his or her application. The fact that an ex-jockey or trackwork rider has in the past been injured and diagnosed as permanently incapacitated, and probably received compensation for such injury, is not of itself determinative of whether he or she should be regranted a license. But such prior permanent injury is a relevant consideration to be taken into account by the Board. Without countervailing evidence supporting the applicant's current fitness to resume riding, the Board must conclude that the applicant is not currently suited to be granted a licence. The onus is on the applicant to satisfy the Board that he or she has overcome that permanent injury and of his or her current physical capability to ride thoroughbred horses. That onus will not be discharged unless the Board receives unconditional, positive reports from medical practitioners that the applicant is currently physically able to perform the inherent requirements of riding (described above). The applicant should submit all his or her current medical reports with the application to be re-licensed. If those reports do not unconditionally clear the applicant to perform the inherent requirements of riding (described above), then the Board will refuse the application. If these reports unconditionally clear the applicant to perform the inherent requirements of riding, then after an interview with the Board (described below) the applicant must attend for examination by an independent medical specialist nominated by the Board, at the applicant's expense. The independent medical specialist will also report whether the applicant is unconditionally medically fit to perform the inherent requirements of riding. Only if the independent medical report unconditionally concludes that the applicant is currently fit to resume riding will the Board reconvene to consider whether to approve the application.
In essence this test is identical to the test which would be relevant to any first applicant for a license. If it came to the notice of Racing NSW that any such person had a physical disability which could affect their ability to perform the inherent requirements of riding then RNSW would, by analogy, adopt this policy.
2. The skill and experience of the applicant to ride thoroughbred horses, importantly whether he or she has completed an apprenticeship or previously held a licence as a jockey (LR 55(1)).
The applicant, if an ex-jockey, will usually be able to satisfy this criteria given their past experience.
3. The repute of the applicant. For example, if an applicant had been convicted for offences involving fraud or other relevant offences, but not "warned off", then this could be legitimate grounds for refusing an applicant a racing licence given that the Board has a responsibility for public confidence in the industry.
The past injury may also be relevant to an assessment whether the applicant is attempting to be regranted a license after being compensated on the basis of a "permanent" injury that precluding him or her from continuing to ride for a living (which goes to the applicant's repute). This conclusion would not be available in the case of a jockey or trackwork rider who legitimately and remarkably recovers from his or her prior "permanent" injuries, particularly if a reasonable period has elapsed since that injury and the time when the applicant was compensated on the basis of suffering a permanent injury. It is, of course, relevant to consider if the ex-jockey had been party to some misrepresentation as to the prior injuries or their continuing effect on him or her - to thereby obtain compensation.
4. Other relevant considerations:
The Board also has a duty to consider the broader public interests of the horse racing industry, including the safety of other jockeys/trackwork riders.
If the applicant's medical reports submitted with his or her application to be re-licensed unconditionally clear him or her to resume riding, then the applicant will be interviewed by the Board. The purpose of the interview is to determine if the applicant satisfies the other criteria (listed above) to be re-licensed. Only if these other criteria are satisfied is it necessary to obtain the independent medical report.
Applicants have no right of appeal from a decision of the Board to refuse to grant a licence to the Appeal Panel constituted under the TRB Act.
IMPORTANT NOTICEIf the Board reissues a trackwork or Jockeys license to the applicant, this does not amount to a representation to, or endorsement of, the applicant concerning his or her current medical fitness to resume riding thoroughbred racehorses in work or in races. Applicants should form and rely on their own view concerning their own fitness to resume riding based on their knowledge of their current physical capabilities, advice from their own medical practitioners and their knowledge of riding thoroughbred horses drawing from their past experience. The Board is not responsible for an applicant's medical condition and decision to resume riding. If at any time after being re-licensed, an applicant's condition changes so that he or she suspects he or she may again be physically and medically unable to ride to the required level, he or she should immediately discontinue riding, inform the stewards and further consult his or her medical practitioner.
PART B: PROCEDURE1.
Application received (accompanied by medical report).
1.1 Applicant advised not to start work, and informed that the application will be considered by Licensing Committee and Board.
1.2 File researched by Licensing Department and referred to Licensing Committee for decision. If the applicant has presented an appropriate unconditional medical report from their own specialist supporting the application, then the application proceeds under paragraph 2.1.
If the medical reports do not unconditionally clear the applicant to resume riding, then given the prior medical evidence of previous permanent injury that affected the applicant's ability to ride, the application is refused.
1.3 Applicant advised of result - with reasons given. (If refused, may be permitted to register as Stablehand Non-Rider)
2. Further letter received from applicant protesting result and professing fitness supported by an unconditional specialist medical report.
2.1 The applicant is first referred to the Licensing Committee for interview to determine if the applicant should be re-licensed based on the criteria described in the above policy. (At this interview it should be made clear to the applicant that the Board does not owe a duty of care to the applicant if he or she is granted a license and is re-injured.) If the Board is satisfied that the applicant meets these criteria, other than concerning medical fitness, then the applicant is required to attend a specialist appointed by the Board for review at the applicant's expense.
2.2 Specialist report received by RNSW and a copy sent to the applicant. If the medical report is an unconditional declaration of fitness, then the Licensing Committee should reconvene to consider granting the applicant a license. If the medical report is not unconditional, then the application is refused.
3. If a further letter of protest is received, RNSW may seek legal advice.