Apprentice jockey David Parkes looks to secure Racing Excellence double this weekend

23 Oct 2014 Grassroots

The last two finals for this season’s Flat Racing Excellence Series will be held this weekend, with apprentice David Parkes, 22, leading both Series.

David will ride tomorrow (Friday 24 October) at Newbury in the hope of winning the Hands and Heels Apprentice Series and will then go on to Doncaster on Saturday (25 October) to attempt to claim the Training Race Series. With a maximum of nine points available to one jockey, and competitive riders close behind him in both league tables, David could still be pipped to first place in both Series.

Two jockeys, Gary Mahon and Chris Meehan, are waiting to fill the top spot if Parkes fails to deliver tomorrow. Both have rides in the Hands and Heels Apprentice Series final and are currently on 22 points, six behind David. Meanwhile at Doncaster Joe Doyle (33 points) and Jordan Vaughan (31 points), winner of this year’s Salisbury Racing Excellence Series, could beat or draw level with Parkes in the Training Race Series.

The Hands and Heels Apprentice Series final at Newbury is the culmination of 12 races. All races are for Apprentices who, at the start of the series, had not ridden more than 10 winners. A Rider must not hit his horse with the whip either with his hands on or off the reins or wave his whip, in exceptional circumstances the Rider may use the whip for safety reasons only. Every Racing Excellence day has a BHA Jockey Coach in attendance, on Friday this will be John Reid. The Training Race Series at Doncaster on Saturday will be overseen by BHA Jockey Coach Jimmy Bleasdale. This Series is also made up of 12 races, for Apprentices who, at the start of the series, had not ridden more than 20 winners. Whips can be waved and used but only in the backhand position.

Both series are designed to assist in the education and training of young jockeys. Points are awarded to jockeys for winning or being placed as well as for jockey skills, professionalism and conduct. The jockey with the most points wins the respective series. The series are recognised by racehorse trainers and owners as an important element of a young jockey’s race-riding career development.

David Parkes is apprentice with Jeremy Gask. Jeremy said:

“The Racing Excellence Series has been a very valuable motivation for David and given our yard’s owners and staff a real interest. This is a terrific initiative to give the younger riders a goal to work towards during the year and hopefully gain some exposure to move on the next stage of their careers.”

Racing Excellence is pleased to announce, that for the first time, they will be sponsoring two awards at the annual Stobart Lesters Awards on 22 December 2014. Racing Excellence will be sponsoring the Apprentice Jockey of the Year and Conditional Jockey of the Year. The awards are run by The Professional Jockeys Association, to recognise the achievements of jockeys throughout the year.


Notes to editors:

1. The points table for the Hands and Heels Apprentice Series can be seen here:

The points table for the Training Race Series can be seen here:

2. Racing Excellence is part of the BHA Jockey Coaching Programme and is the industry accreditation for all apprentice and conditional races which run under “hands and heels” or training race conditions. The Racing Excellence Series is now under the management of the British Racing School, on behalf of BHA. For more information please contact Clare Higgins: [email protected] or visit the website

3. The winner of each series will collect £1000, which must be used towards developing their career.

4. BHA offers a Jockey Coaching and Mentoring Programme designed to further improve the skills of young jockeys and to develop all round sports people. All Jockey Coaches are UKCC qualified in order to keep in line with mainstream sports and provide coaching in all aspects of their careers from technical support, motivation, confidence, fitness and communication skills.

5. The Stobart Lesters Awards will be on Monday 22 December, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. For more information visit:

The full list of awards is as follows: Racing Excellence Apprentice Jockey of the Year;Racing Excellence Conditional Jockey of the Year; Great British Racing Lady Jockey of the Year; Racing Post Flat Ride of the Year; At The Races Jump ride of the Year; SIS Flat Jockey Special Recognition; ARC Jump Jockey Special Recognition; Stobart Flat Jockey of the Year; Stobart Jump Jockey of the Year.