Riding horses in races as a Jockey can be an exciting and rewarding career.
Potential Jockeys have a small frame and ideally weigh less than 50kg. They will enjoy physical activities and outdoor work. Successful Jockeys need to be highly motivated and have a strong will to win.
Jockeys with no previous riding experience commence their career as a Stablehand non rider where they learn to care for and handle a thoroughbred racehorse. A potential Jockey is then taught to ride trackwork and should they display sufficient potential, when they have been assessed as being able to ride at an appropriate standard, they are indentured as an Apprentice Jockey with a licensed Trainer
Apprentice Jockeys are then required to ride in a minimum of twenty barrier trials before being assessed to commence riding in races. Apprentice Jockeys receive a weight allowance (reduces the handicap weight of the horses that they ride) in order to allow them to compete against more experienced Jockeys. As an Apprentice Jockey gains experience such allowance is reduced at various stages dependant on the number of winners they ride.
Apprentice Jockeys are indentured for four years with the option of an extension. During this time Apprentices receive both practical and theoretical training.
Apprentices receive ‘on the job’ training under the supervision of their employing trainer as well as through the Australian Racing and Equine Academy. Upon successful completion of their training, an Apprentice receives the qualification Certificate IV – Jockey. For further information regarding training please contact the Racing NSW Training Department for further information by email email@example.com or phone 1800 200 724.
When they have completed their Apprenticeship and attained the qualification Certificate IV – Jockey an Apprentice Jockey may apply for a Jockeys licence.
Example of subjects covered:
Core: Apply First Aid; Manage Personal Health & Fitness; Develop Riding Skills for Flatwork; Attend Horses at Trackwork; Develop Basic Trackwork Riding Skills; Prepare for Self-Management in Racing; Ride Horses in Jumpouts; Participate in Protests; Inquiries & Appeals; Deal with Conflict; Electives: Participate in Media Interviews for Racing; Set Goals to Improve Racing Performance.
For more information call 1800 200 72
Apprentice Jockey’s earn their money in two ways:
- Wages paid by your Trainer employer , and
- Riding fees including commissions (% of prizemoney) paid by Racing NSW on behalf of owners.
Due to a decision by the Fair Work Commission of Australia to insert Apprentice Jockey Wage Rates into the Horse and Greyhound Training Award 2010, Apprentice Jockey wages changed from 10 November 2014.
This new wage scale applies nationally, and provides different rates of pay for Apprentices who have completed Year 12, and also includes an FWC decision that recognises a higher wage for Adult Apprentices (age 21yrs plus) who commenced their apprenticeship after 1 January 2014 and were 21yrs+ at the time of commencement.
To view the Apprentice Jockey Wage Scale, click on the link below:
Apprentice Jockeys wage scale notice - Fair Work Commission decision 2014.
Apprentice School Program
Monthly apprentice schools are held in every region of NSW.
Race ride fees and commissions
Apprentice jockeys earn a set riding fee for every race ride and 5% of any prizemoney won by the horse they are riding.
The race riding fee is set by Racing NSW in discussion with the NSW Jockeys Association, who make a submission to Racing NSW every 12 to 18 months.
Riders are also paid for barrier trial rides, set at 35% of the race riding fee
Click here to view the current Race and Barrier Trial Fee
The barrier trial fees, race ride fee and commission is divided between the Apprentice Jockey (75%) and their Trainer employer (25%).
Apprentice Trust Account
Apprentice earnings are retained in an Apprentice Trust Account until the rider turns 21years of age, building a Nest Egg for investment. Interest earned is paid back into the Trust Account for each Apprentice.
At request the Trust can be retained after you turn 21yrs and kept going for the duration of the apprenticeship or longer.
During your apprenticeship, withdrawals from the Account are approved for business expenses such as Riding Gear, Tax Payments or Motor Vehicle Expenses. Property Investment is also encouraged. Click here to download a Trust Account withdrawal application form.
Apprentice Jockey – Licence renewals
Apprentice’s Permit to Ride in Races expire on the 30th June each year. Renewal application forms and medicals are sent to all Apprentice Jockeys in early May.
To renew a licence an Apprentice Jockey is required to;
- Complete and submit a licence renewal form
- Pay the prescribed fee
- Undertake an examination with a General Medical Practitioner (GP) and submit the completed examination form.
Forms are available on the links below:
- Apprentice permit
Apprentice Jockeys are reminded that they must answer all questions in regard to their personal history and that special care should be taken to ensure that question 20 (on the medical) which refers to any Medicines, Drugs, Tablets or injections that they are currently taking (if any) is completed accurately.
Apprentice Jockeys who are taking medication are requested to read the following notice and comply with the provisions outlined should they apply.
Notice regarding medications
Extension of Apprenticeship Indentures
Apprentice Jockeys are indentured for four years with the option of an extension. This allows the apprentice to prolong the time that they may claim a weight allowance.
With the support of your trainer, an extension may be approved for a few reasons:
- Any time between being apprenticed and your first race ride
- Any time you may lose during your apprenticeship that you were injured and on Workers Compensation
- Plus – up to 12 months if you still have a claim
Before approval is given, the following criteria are reviewed:
- Completion by the Apprentice Jockey of Certificate IV Jockey
- Adherence to the Apprentice Jockey Code of Conduct
- Competency during the Apprenticeship
An application for extension form is available. The application should be lodged 2 months before expiry date
If you have any questions contact Racing NSW Licensing Department:
p: 02 9551 7500 | fax: 02 9551 7587 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org