LEARNING to ride and being an apprentice jockey is more than just riding work and mucking out stables.
It’s also about going back to school.
Apprentice school that is.
This week Melina Remacle was back in Tamworth conducting another session for local apprentices.
She is a workplace trainer and assessor, employed by NSW Racing and TAFE western Sydney Institute to give the apprentices a wide grounding in just what they have to do to become fully-fledged jockeys.
Remacle said all licensed apprentice jockeys and pre-approved riders in New South Wales must make note of these scheduled Apprentice School days.
Attendance is compulsory for pre-approved and apprentice jockeys, she said.
“There are 29 units of competency they must complete,” she said.
“From race trials to protests.”
In order for apprentices to progress to jockey status and become licensed, they must regularly attend – and successfully complete – Apprentice School training.
Failure to attend without notifying their respective mentor can result in being stood down from race riding or being fined by Racing NSW stewards.
HNWRA chief steward Shane Cullen was at Wednesday’s session for a time and conducted a quick re-hash of how jockeys conduct themselves when actually protesting.
It was a request from Muswellbrook-based Sam Clenton after she had been part of a protest hearing recently at Taree.
Cullen’s best advice to the apprentices was to “stick to the facts”.
There were eight apprentices present – Sophie Young, Melissa Brown, Sue Bigg, Adam Sewell, Matt Powell, Taylah Gray, Kassie Furness and Clenton.
Sewell is the “newest” of the eight to have arrived in the HNWRA.
He’s from Sydney – Arncliffe to be exact.
“I started with Gai Waterhouse two years ago,” he said.
“I wanted to be a trainer but lost a lot of weight and started riding work for Gai Waterhouse.
“She gave me a start but one of her stable foremen told me I should go to the country to get more chances.”
He heeded that advice and obtained a transfer to Tamworth to leading trainer Sue Grills.
“It’s been great. I love it.
“I’ve ridden five winners so far. My first was at Bingara.”
He’s now outridden his 4kg claim and claims 3kg, which he will utilise at Grafton on Tuesday.
“I’ve got one ride for sure over there – maybe two.”