Please go to 'How can I apply' section below for further details

Open days planned throughout early 2023      

You must attend an open day to be eligible for the course - Dates and Expression of interest from below:

  • Tuesday, 14th February - FULL
  • Friday, 17th February - FULL
  • Wednesday, 15th March- FULL
  • Wednesday, 5th April- FULL
  • Thursday, 13th April - FULL
  • Wednesday, 3rd May - FULL
  • Wednesday, 17th May
  • Wednesday, 31st May
  • EXTRA DATE! Monday, 12th June

Full information and all forms for 2023 -2024 will be available to download under the 'How can I apply' tab below when confirmed.

The Trainee Jockey Course is the best foundation course in the world of horse racing. The course is delivered by RACE under contracted training via Cenit College for KWETB.  KWETB are the owners of the programme and therefore oversee the quality assurance of it.  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.

Complete the Expression of Interest & Open Day booking form by clicking the link: Expression of Interest 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 jockeysTraining 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, 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 gym, personal and professional 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 (2pm-5pm): 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 BoardHorse 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 2020 Open Day dates and book your place please download this booking form: 2020 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 up to €1,100 required for equipment and uniform, however a refund is made where a student’s own equipment (back protector, boots, etc) are deemed suitable and in compliance with safety standards. There is a fee of €125 (as of 2020) 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.

2022 Open Days start in February. To find out dates and to book a place on an Open Day please download a form here: Expression of Interest Form

Yes, candidates must be under 9 stone (57kg). Please read the following guidelines of Expected Fitness Levels for Trainee Jockey Course 2020

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.

Applications are now open

 Read me first!

Please follow the steps outlined below carefully

Trainee Jockey Course – Information Sheet

School Support Information Sheet – Under 18 Only

Note that you will be contacted by RACE staff regarding Medical Forms.


OVER 18 years only:

Over18 – Parent-Guardian Contact Consent Form 2023

RACE Trials Media Release Form 2023

UNDER 18 years only:

Under 18 – Consent form and Child Protection Policy 2023

RACE Trials Media Release Form 2023

Note in relation to age

Minimum age for the course is the minimum statutory school leaving age.  Applicants should have turned 16 by September 1st in year of application.  Exception – where the applicant will turn 16 years of age before December 31st in year of application they may be registered and referred for the course providing they have the support of their parent/guardian and the school reference as outlined on the explanation page.

The closing date for registering for the course has not yet been determined.  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.

By post By e-mail (scan/ e-mail)
Trainee Jockey Course, Racing Academy & Centre of Education,

Curragh House, Dublin Road, Kildare, Co. Kildare


Closing Date: To be confirmed, please complete and submit ASAP

Trial places are usually assigned after the closing date.

You will have to contribute to the cost of accommodation and meals while staying at RACE for selection trials.





T: +353 (0)45 522 468

No: CHY 9242