Apprentices reap rewards from training program

Wednesday 26 April 2017

RECENTLY retired champion jockey Darren Gauci was in Hobart this week to spend time with some of the state’s apprentices at a workshop that forms part of their apprentice training program.

The group of six to attend the training day at Luxbet Park were riding apprentices Hayley McCarthy, Shiralee Maher, Sherry Barr and Chris Graham along with two trainee apprentices Breanna Smith and Teagan Voohrum.

Gauci, 51, delivered some riveting dialogue on his career that detailed some highlights and enlightened the group on the lows that peppered his riding career.

When he hung up his riding boots earlier this year he had ridden over 2500 winners of which 35 were in Group 1 events.

What influenced him to take an early retirement was an offer from Racing Victoria to become an apprentice coach, a role that he has taken to like a duck to water.

The Apprentice Jockey Training Program, that forms part of Racing Victoria’s  education in racing strategy, has a reputation as one of the best rider development programs in the world.

Tasmania’s budding apprentices have been made privy to the resource through Tasracing that funds and coordinates the state’s racing development programs.

All apprentice jockeys must undertake to acquire a Certificate IV in racing prior to completing their apprenticeship and this week’s training day forms part of that process.

Retired Tasmanian Hall of Fame jockey Stephen Maskiell is Tasracing’s state jockey coach-instructor and he coordinated the day in conjunction with Troy Porteli from Skillinvest that is a Victorian based company specialising in apprentice training programs.

Included in the training day was a two-hour nutrition session delivered by Claire Saundry who is chief nutritionist with AFL club Western Bulldogs.

High-profile legal eagle and Tasracing board chairman Dean Copper spent two hours with the group dealing with the appeals process and other legal matters that might arise from racing.

There was a two-hour media training session that dealt with how best to handle all types of media interviews and the day closed with a session from the stewards dealing with stewards’ inquiries and protest hearings.