TRAINEE JOCKEY COURSE
The Trainee Jockey Course is the best foundation course in the world of horse racing. The course is fully-funded and it a competitive process to gain a place with residential trials for the course run annually in late June and early July. The most important attributes we look for during trials are a love for horses, a high level of fitness and a good attitude, meaning being a team-player and being coach-able. Scroll down to see answers to the most frequently asked questions about the course.
- Before being eligible to apply for a trial the 2019/20 Trainee Jockey Course you must first attend an Open Day. Our Open Days begin in early February and we are now taking bookings for places. You are advised to attend an Open Day at the first available opportunity because you will be provided with information that will help you to prepare for trials for the course.
You can download an Expression of Interest & Open Day booking form by clicking here: 2019 Expression of interest Open Day Booking Form
- Follow RACE on social media to keep up to date with our training activities throughout the year.
Our world renowned Trainee Jockey Course has been running since 1977 and counted amongst our Alumni (graduates) are champion flat and jump jockeys as well as Classic-winning jockeys and jump jockeys who between them have won every major jump race at home and abroad. A large number of our graduates are leading successful careers in every aspect of the racing and breeding industry around the world. Graduates include Seamie Heffernan (multiple Group 1 winner & 3-time Irish Derby Winner), Daryl Jacob (mulitple Gr.1 winner & Irish Gold Cup winnner), Padraig Beggy (2017 Epsom Derby Gr.1 Winner), Samantha Wynne (top 10 jockey in NZ), Shane Foley (Gr.1 winner & dual Irish Classic winner), Chris Hayes (multiple Gr.1 winner & dual Irish Classic winner), Emily Finnegan (over 200 career wins and a rising star in South Australia), Sean Flanagan (Gr.1 winner), Brian Hughes, Jerry McGrath, Joe Fanning (more than 1,700 career wins), leading apprentices and conditional jockeys, Gary Halpin, Sean Davis, Dylan Hogan, Ciaran Gethings, Dylan Robinson, Robbie Dolan (leading apprentice in NSW, Australia) as well as former jockeys and now leading trainers, Johnny Murtagh, Richard Fahey and Jockey Coach and former Irish Champion Apprentice, Cathy Gannon., etc.
Don't just take our word for it, hear what Trainee Jockey Graduates Sean Flanagan (2005) and Robbie Dolan (2013) had to say about the Trainee Jockey Course:
Horse racing is about winning and more than most sports it’s about the dream of winning. To become a jockey you need more than a dream, you need passion and determination, but most of all you need a solid foundation. A jockey is a professional athlete, just like a professional soccer player or a professional rugby player. Having talent is just the beginning; forging a long-term career takes time and a lot of training. Professional athletes are highly trained physically and mentally from a young age to prepare them to deal with all the challenges they face over the course of a career. Major sports provide academy training to ensure that students of today will make the leading athletes of tomorrow. As the Academy to the Irish racing industry we are confident that our Trainee Jockey Course is the best foundation available for a long-term career as a professional jockey….. and how do we know this?….. Just take a look at the careers of our graduates over the past 40 years. The RACE Trainee Jockey Course IS the world’s most successful training programme for aspiring jockeys. Training for today, educating for tomorrow since 1977. #40Years
The Trainee Jockey Course is a 42-week residential programme based here on campus from Monday to Friday. Successful participants receive a QQI (formerly FETEC) Level 4 Major Award on the National Framework of Qualifications. Immediately upon graduation students are prepared for a full-time job as an exercise rider and the prospect of a career a jockey. For those students who demonstrate high levels of riding skills and commitment we provide assistance with their preparations to apply for their apprentice or conditional jockey licence. This course is funded by the Kildare & Wicklow Education & Training Board, Horse Racing Ireland and other industry stakeholders.
The course commences in early September each year
Term 1- Directed Training (13 weeks)
Mornings (8am-12.30pm): The first term replicates the activities of a professional racing yard using our equestrian centre facilities under the guidance of our team of Instructors. Students are taught Practical Riding and Stable Management modules that include all stable duties including mucking out, grooming, tacking up, exercise riding and other yard tasks such as bandaging, putting on boots and clipping. Video recordings are made of students riding on the gallops and our instructors review these videos with students using racehorse simulators and Dartfish software to improve position and riding skills.
Afternoons (2pm-5pm): QQI lectures in Stable and Yard Routine and Racehorse Care and Exercise are taught in classrooms along with Communication skills, Nutrition, Work Practice, Business Calculations, Workplace Safety, Health Related Fitness and Information Technology Skills.
Evenings (7pm-9pm): Each evening throughout the course there are classes and activities for trainees including fitness coaching in our state-of-the-art gymnasium, Art and personal development. There is a full programme of industry induction that includes behind the scenes visits.
Term 2 – Integrated Training (23 Weeks)
Mornings (6am-12.30pm): Students are placed with leading local racehorse trainers on the Curragh (flat and jumps trainers including Johnny Murtagh, Michael Halford, Kevin Prendergast, Dermot Weld, John Oxx) for on-the-job training in riding and stable management. Trainees gain practical experience tacking up, exercise riding, mucking out, grooming, and general stable & yard routine within the more pressurised environment of a busy racing yard. They assist with a variety of routine tasks with the trainer, head lad, farrier and vet when required. Each trainer will complete a Workplace Training Record on each student before one of our instructors visits students in the trainers yards to review their placement and their strengths and weaknesses. Where a student demonstrates the required level of riding skills and dedication to their job they may be allowed to ride work(training gallops) and/or school over jumps on the Curragh training and schooling grounds.
Afternoons (7pm-9pm): Classroom modules as in the first term.
Term 3 – Structured Integrated Training (6 Weeks)
Mornings (6am-12.30pm): This term is all about full time on-the-job training under the supervision of local racehorse trainers and their supervisory staff. Students are expected to carry out all stable duties under supervision, mornings and evenings as specified in our Workplace Training Record. Trainees continue to develop their skills and work as part of the team in a racing yard, riding out three or four racehorses on the gallops each morning and carrying out all regular stable duties.
Afternoons: Return to placement yards to complete evening stables as part of a full-time team of staff.
The Trainee Jockey Course is open to all EU Nationals and is funded by the Kildare & Wicklow Education and Training Board, Horse Racing Ireland and other industry stakeholders. To be eligible for the Trainee Jockey course you must register for this course through your local Department of Social Protection(DSP)/Intreo office. If you are applying from an EU country other than Ireland please contact RACE for more information on how to apply from abroad.
Most Students on this course are aged between 16 and 18 years. The general requirement is that students must be 16 years old by the 1st of September on year they wish to start this course. Exceptions may be made for applicants who turn 16 years before the 31st of December on the year their course begins. Applicants who are over 18 years may also apply. Candidates wishing to apply MUST attend one of our Open Days (to see 2018 Open Day dates and book your place please download this booking form: 2018 Expression of interest & Open Day Booking Form) and we host 2 residential Trial weeks (5 days and nights) in early July after which students are selected.
Tuition and accommodation are free of charge to EU residents and eligible trainees (depending on age and circumstances) are paid a weekly allowance by SOLAS. Meals are heavily subsidised, but do require a contribution by candidates. There is an upfront payment of €1,000 required for equipment and uniform, however a refund is made where a student’s own equipment (back protector, boots, etc) are deemed suitable and incompliance with safety standards. There is a fee of €125 (as of 2018) to take part in a trial for the course.
Candidates wishing to apply MUST attend one of our Open Days and we host 2 residential Trial weeks (5 days and nights) in late June/early July after which students are selected.
2019 Open Days start in early February. To find out dates and to book a place on an Open Day please download a form here: 2019 Expression of interest Open Day Booking Form
Yes, candidates must be under 9 stone (57kg)
This is not essential, but candidates must complete a suitability test. Anyone applying for this course without previous riding experience will be required to demonstrate a high level of determination and motivation to succeed and a strong wiliness to apply themselves to every aspect of this course.
No. Students must purchase riding and safety equipment from RACE at the commencement of the course.
Successful graduates will be able to take up full-time employment in the racing industry and /or sign on as apprentice or conditional jockeys. Students who are highly motivated and who demonstrate excellent riding skills are assisted with preparations for an apprentice or conditional licence.
Each year a number of graduates remain in residence at RACE while working full-time for a local trainer. Many of these graduates continue their training under our Seniors Programme to qualify for a QQI Level 5 award on the National Framework of Qualifications.
You MUST to attend an Open Day to become eligible to apply for the Trainee Jockey Course.
Click on the link to discover Open Day dates and to download a booking form : 2019 Expression of interest Open Day Booking Form
Explanation of the application process for the KWETB Trainee Jockey Course
The following information describes the steps to be followed to apply for the course, the process is NOT currently open for applications:
It is expected that you have attended an Open Day at RACE prior to registering for the course, so you are clear on the course content and requirements.
STAGE 1 – Expression of Interest
STAGE 2 – Registration for the Course
Gather the following items which are required for registration:
If you are under 18:
School support letter – A written statement from the Principal/ Vice Principal of your school to confirm that you are likely to benefit from attending the Trainee Jockey course. While a general character reference and information regarding behaviour and attendance would be beneficial, their statement that you are likely to benefit from the course is essential. If the letter is not signed by the Principal/ Vice Principal it cannot be accepted
Parental / guardian support – A written statement from your parent or guardian that you have their full support for your application.
If you are over 18:
School reference – A written statement from your school in relation to your suitability for your chosen career plus a general character reference and information regarding behaviour and attendance.
Bring the above items to your local Department of Social Protection (DSP) or Intreo office once registrations are open.
Request to be registered for the Racehorse Care and Riding course: COURSE CODE: (to be confirmed) which is categorised under ‘Sports and Leisure’
There are special allowances made for registration on this course in relation to age and school status for those under 18 which is why you require the above documents.
The DSP may request to view and make note of your documents, but you should keep them as you will be required to submit them to us for your file.
The closing date for registering for the course has not yet been determined, but is usually early June. We will notify all who have expressed interest in the course by e-mail as soon as we confirm the closing date. After this date you will no longer be eligible.
STAGE 3 – information gathering/ submission of application to RACE
Fill in the personal information sheet
Bring the medical information sheet to your GP for completion
Complete the applicant medical questionnaire
The three forms outlined above will be available to download here once the application process for 2019 is open:
or e-mailed / posted out if you phone PH: 045 522468 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submit all documents (including school/ parental letters) as soon as possible after registration with the DSP, do not wait for the closing date:
By e-mail (scan/ e-mail)
Trainee Jockey Course
Racing Academy & Centre of Education