05 Sep 2011 Pre-2014 Releases

The British Horseracing Authority has today announced the launch of a new coaching and mentoring programme designed to further improve levels of horsemanship and professionalism in the sport.

For the past year, eight Jockeys have been training for their UKCC coaching qualification. John Reid (MBE), Mick Fitzgerald, Kevin Darley, Richard Perham, Michael Tebbutt, Graham Lee, Craig Benton and Jimmy Bleasdale have all successfully completed the course which is widely regarded top level sports coaching qualification used across the board in a majority of sports.

Eight Conditional Jockeys who have attended the Northern Racing College licence course in Doncaster and eight Apprentice Jockeys from the British Racing School in Newmarket have been selected to pilot the coaching and mentoring scheme. They have each been allocated one of the Coaches to provide them with one-to-one coaching in all aspects of their career from technical riding support, motivation, confidence, fitness and communication skills – all areas that are imperative in developing well rounded sports men and women.

The Jockeys will receive coaching until they have “ridden out their claim” (all Jockeys receive a weight allowance, or “claim”, when riding against experienced Jockeys, until they have ridden a threshold number of winners), and the aim of the programme is to help jockeys to achieve full non-claiming status sooner than would be the norm.

The programme was driven by a desire to expand the level of ongoing training and support for young jockeys as well as improve the consistency and structure of any coaching currently provided. It was introduced following extensive consultation between the British Horseracing Authority, Professional Jockeys Association, the National Trainers Federation and a number of Trainers, and will be funded through the contributions made to training by jockeys and trainers themselves.

In the long-term the aim will be to recognise the jockey’s achievements whilst being coached through a certification or qualification which could then become an industry standard for jockeys.

In the New Year, Phase 2 of the pilot will see sixteen more jockeys from two more licence courses and a selection of 5lb and 3lb claimers (Jockeys who receive a weight allowance when riding against more experienced Jockeys) included in the programme.

In addition, a second intake of eight new Jockey Coaches will start their UKCC qualification in September 2011 and include Jimmy McCarthy, Warren Marston and Christian Williams.

Mick Fitzgerald, Grand National winning Jockey and one of the new Jockey Coaches, said:

“I think this coaching scheme has been needed for some time and is a great step in the right direction. I only wish it was available when I was riding. I am really looking forward to coaching and giving something back to the industry.”

Yogi Breisner, Coach educator and assessor, said:

“The introduction and development of Jockey Coaches is an exciting new project which will benefit the present and future generation of Jockeys, and should improve the standard of Jockeyship and horsemanship to the benefit of racing as a whole.”

Sam Martin, Training, Welfare and Community Associate for the British Horseracing Authority, said:

“The coaches have really committed themselves to achieving the UKCC qualification and worked really hard in gaining the extra skills and knowledge required to pass the tough assessments. We are all looking forward to working together with the Jockeys and their Trainers to get this programme up and running and making an impact. This coaching initiative is the first step in developing more comprehensive training for Jockeys throughout their careers.”