The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced it will share the benefits of the income it generates from amateur jockeys riding against professionals with the Amateur Jockeys Association (AJA) for the very first time.
Whilst the BHA already supports amateur jockeys through a contribution towards the provision of insurance and funds industry training and on-course physiotherapists – totalling in excess of £450,000 over the past four years – a major proportion of future prize money and riding fees earned by amateur jockeys will now be shared with the AJA.
In addition, the outstanding achievements of Sam Waley-Cohen in becoming the first amateur jockey in 30 years to win the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup and finishing second in the John Smith’s Grand National in 2011, have enabled the BHA to provide a further £30,000 grant to be divided between the AJA, the Pony Racing Authority (PRA) and to Sam’s newly-founded charity, the Thomas Andrew Waley-Cohen (TAWC) Fund, which is aimed at providing financial support for charitable initiatives across the country.
£20,000 of this grant has been allocated to the AJA towards funding for a small number of valuable Jump races for amateur riders, which will be planned in consultation with BHA Racing Department and the racecourses concerned, with the hope of building a stronger platform from which amateur jockeys can launch their riding careers.
£5,000 has been granted to the Pony Racing Authority (PRA) towards the cost of Pony Racing Training Days.
Together with the Pony Club, the PRA have devised a specific training programme for Pony Racing which is intended to educate, inform and encourage participation in racing. It includes racing saddlery demonstrations, lessons in balance and fitness, and the opportunity to ride on the gallops, with the aim of feeding competent and skilled young riders into the professional sport.
Three successful Training Days took place in 2010, and the grant will ensure that the PRA can continue to provide the very best training, experience and development opportunities for today’s young riders by offering the opportunity to benefit from tailored training specific to racing and race riding.
At Sam Waley-Cohen’s request, the final £5000 will be donated to his new charity, the TAWC Fund, for which he is Chairman.
Sam Waley-Cohen said:
“I am delighted that the BHA has revised the current system so that in future a percentage of amateurs’ prize money from wins against professionals will be awarded to the Amateur Jockeys Association. This will undoubtedly benefit all amateur riders, and represents a significant step forward for the sport.
“It is also rewarding for me personally that the memorable season I was fortunate enough to enjoy in 2010/11 will benefit the AJA, PRA and my own charity, the TAWC Fund. I am excited to see what developments can arise as a result of these grants, including the prospect of additional races for amateurs, and it gives me great pleasure to be able to put something back into a sport which has given me so much, and perhaps in doing so help all amateur jockeys to continue their fine contribution to the sport.”
Sarah Oliver, Chief Executive of the AJA said:
“Following the recent hugely successful partnerships of Sam Waley-Cohen with Long Run and Oscar Time, the AJA are delighted that agreement has been reached with the BHA so that amateur jockeys will benefit from future winning rides against professionals.
“Not only will a fund from Sam Waley-Cohen’s wins last season finance additional amateur races, future amateur jockeys’ winning ride percentage prize money against professionals will also be included. The AJA acknowledges the significant contribution made by all amateur jockeys who has won against professionals in the past.”
Rebecca Morgan, Chief Executive of The Pony Racing Authority, said:
“The PRA is very grateful to Sam Waley-Cohen and the BHA for acknowledging Pony Racing and the role it plays within the industry by way of this generous donation, especially when we receive no other industry funding. Despite this, 92 riders have progressed from the initiative to become jockeys, and with the continued support of the BHA, our sponsors and others in the industry we hope that Pony Racing will continue to thrive and deliver top class young jockeys to the professional sport.”