04 Nov 2013 Pre-2014 Releases

BHA is pleased to announce that after a successful pilot the BHA Jockey Coaching Programme is now to become a permanent initiative within the Racing industry. As of February 2014 the Programme will be further developed with the long term objective of providing the opportunity for mentoring and skills coaching to be undertaken by all apprentice and conditional jockeys, under the management of the British Racing School (BRS) in conjunction with the Northern Racing College (NRC).

The announcement follows the awarding of over £106,000 in funding by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) to cover the costs of running the Jockey Coaching Programme and the increased access to jockey coaching in 2014. This total is roughly equivalent to match funding, with approximately £109,000 being diverted towards the initiative from statutory deductions from apprentice and conditional jockeys’ riding fees for industry training under the Rules of Racing.

The Jockey Coaching Programme was initially launched in September 2011 in response to a review which identified that Racing’s training programmes for participants should be enhanced and expanded. Since this launch the pilot scheme has been rolled out to over 100 apprentice and conditional jockeys, with over 90 riders still actively engaged in the Programme.

The HBLB funding alongside the provision of administration services by the BRS, who will work closely with the NRC, means that during 2014 the scheme will begin the process of becoming available to all apprentice and conditional jockeys.

Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of the BHA, said:

“The introduction of the Jockey Coaching Programme was the result of a much-needed initiative to improve the level of training and support being received by jockeys, and to bring us more in to line with other professional sports. Previously we had stood out as being one of the few major sports not to provide structured, professional coaching to our participants. I’m pleased to say this is no longer the case.”

The aim of the Programme is to provide riders with one-to-one coaching in all aspects of their career from technical riding support to motivation, confidence, fitness and communication skills. The jockeys all receive coaching until they have ridden out their claim.

The coaches all had successful careers as professional jockeys in their own right and include the likes of John Reid, Kevin Darley, Carl Llewellyn and Mick Fitzgerald. To date 23 coaches have achieved a high level UKCC coaching qualification after each undertaking an extensive training programme, and the appointment of the coaches was supported in all cases by the PJA.

The transfer of the Jockey Coaching Programme to the management of the BRS will enable a more integrated approach to the coaching and mentoring of riders. It will also allow for consideration to be given to methods of further improving the initiative, such as improving the geographical spread of the jockey coaches, the panel of coaches working more closely with a coordinated centralised recording system, regional simulator and fitness workshops and the development of an online resource.

Paul Bittar added:

“I am delighted that we are able to hand over the day-to-day operations and administration of this initiative to the British Racing School, who will work closely with the Northern Racing College. This outsourcing of training provision is in line with a key outcome of the recent review into Industry Recruitment, Training and Education, which, led by BHA, has established a better integrated and more cost effective approach to training across the entire industry.

“We are also grateful for the funding provided by the Levy Board which will help the Jockey Coaching Programme achieve its objectives of delivering excellence in the field of coaching and mentoring services.”

Rory MacDonald, Chief Executive of the British Racing School, said:

“I am excited that the British Racing School is to be at the forefront of managing and expanding this worthwhile Programme. The BRS has for many years been a centre of excellence for nurturing riding talent in Britain and as such is the perfect setting to run this initiative.

“We also look forward to working closely with the Northern Racing College to ensure a wide geographic spread of coaches to assist in delivering the long term objective of making this scheme available to all apprentice and conditional jockeys.”

Kevin Darley, one of the qualified Jockey Coaches, said:

“It is great news that the Jockey Coaching Programme is being supported in this way. Being given the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience within a coaching environment can only benefit all our licensed riders in helping them to sustain a long and successful career as professional jockeys”.