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Apprentices Graduate From Victorian Training Program

Six Victorian apprentices successfully graduated from Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program at a ceremony held at Flemington on December 15.

Apprentices Graduate From Victorian Training Program

Six Victorian apprentices successfully graduated from Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program at a ceremony held at Flemington on December 15.

The graduation ceremony was a fitting finale to the talented group’s training at RV, where they have been provided the best resources to grow as an athlete, both personally and professionally.

The AJTP aims to develop high performance athletes for a professional career in the racing industry and is conducted with partners including the Victorian Institute of Sport and Exercise Research Australia.


Apprentices were put through their paces under the watchful eye of RV’s Apprentice team, including Apprentice Jockey coaches Matthew Pumpa and Matthew Hyland; Jockey Wellbeing and Safety Officer, Ron Hall; and Athlete Development and Industry Careers Advisor, Melissa Weatherley.

Specialist skill delivery in race riding and performance analysis, sports science and nutrition, media and business skills are also provided throughout the course to ensure individuals are well equipped for both their time in the saddle and pursuits in their life after racing.

Two coveted awards, the Victorian Jockeys Association Outstanding Apprentice Jockey and the Andrew Gilbert Principles of Sports Science Award, were also presented on the night.

Prodigious talent Ben Thompson took home both awards off the back of outstanding results in the classroom and on the racetrack, where he has ridden more than 130 winners.

The 2016 graduating class is as follows:

• Regan Bayliss: The 19-year-old is apprenticed to co-trainers David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig and has ridden 206 winners, including 75 on metropolitan tracks.

• Dylan Dunn: The 21-year-old is apprenticed to co-trainers David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig and has ridden 131 winners, including 55 on metropolitan tracks

• Kassie Furness: The 25-year-old is apprenticed to trainer Kym Hann at Bendigo and has ridden 72 winners in her career, including 12 since joining the AJTP at the start of 2016

• Beau Mertens: The 19-year-old is apprenticed to Mick Kent at Cranbourne and has ridden 112 winners, including 25 on metropolitan racetracks

• Ben Thompson: The 19-year-old is apprenticed to trainer Allan Williams at Cranbourne and has ridden 131 winners, including 32 on metropolitan racetracks;

• Boris Thornton: The 19-year-old is apprenticed to his father, trainer Glenn Thornton at Modewarre and has ridden 88 winners during his time in the AJTP;

All six jockeys will remain apprentices for a period lasting four years.

A new crop of prospective apprentice jockeys will begin AJTP classes in 2017.


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