Five aspiring young jockeys, including the daughter of a Scobie Breasley Medallist and the brother of a dual Rising Stars Award winner, have been officially welcomed into Racing Victoria’s (RV) Apprentice Jockey Training program (AJTP) on Wednesday.
The quintet, who comprise four females and one male, will spend the next four years harnessing their budding riding skills under the watchful gaze of RV’s Apprentice Jockey Coaches, Darren Gauci and Matt Pumpa.
Tayla Childs (21) is the daughter of Greg Childs, the 1998 Scobie Breasley Medallist and winner of over 2000 races. She will join her twin brother Jordan in Victoria’s riding ranks, as will 16-year-old Logan McNeil, the brother of dual Rising Stars winner Jye McNeil.
They are joined by Tatum Bull (17), Alana Kelly (18) and Madison Lloyd (17) as the 2018 AJTP inductees. All five will now aim to follow in the footsteps of five-time Scobie Breasley Medal winner Craig Williams and more recent AJTP graduates such as Regan Bayliss and Katelyn Mallyon, who have enjoyed Group 1 success since joining the senior rider ranks.
In the more immediate future, the five aspiring hoops will be educated on race riding, performance analysis, sports science and sports medicine, as well as acquiring media, finance and business skills.
The quintet bring to 43 the number of apprentice jockeys engaged in the AJTP, with 46 percent of those female.
Bull will begin her apprenticeship with trainer Kylie Vella, for whom she has ridden trackwork for the past 18 months. Having started out as a pony club member aged 11, she progressed to competing in horse trials before joining Vella as a stable hand in 2015.
“Becoming a jockey has been a passion of mine after growing up with horses,” Bull said. “I was always told to choose a career I love and have a passion for. I love horses and have a passion for riding, so it seemed a perfect fit for me to become a jockey.”
Racing has also been in Tayla Childs’ blood from an early age, with her father Greg having ridden for more than 30 years and counting two Cox Plates and two Caulfield Cups among his impressive haul of silverware.
Her brother Jordan is a graduate of the AJTP, and will chase his first Group 1 victory on board Written By in the $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday week.
Childs, who broke off her Bachelor of Education degree at Victoria University to pursue a career in racing, will be apprenticed at Caulfield with Andrew Noblet, having completed a stint as a track rider for another Group 1-winning trainer, Patrick Payne.
“I have been surrounded by horses and racing my whole life, I got my first pony when I was three years old and have loved riding ever since,” she said.
“I have always taken on the advice Dad gives Jordan when he’s riding, I know what’s required to become a successful jockey and I have the drive and passion to become one.”
Ballarat-based Kelly, a keen rower who has competed in the National Championships, has ridden trackwork for Archie Alexander, a rising star of Victoria’s training ranks and RV’s Festival of Racing Ambassador.
“My other sporting pursuits have strengthened my dedication and self-drive, which will help me in the fiercely-competitive racing industry,” Kelly said. “I adore horse racing and the culture that surrounds it, and I’m excited about integrating myself further in it.”
A pony club member for the past 11 years, Lloyd is currently a stable hand for trainer Nathan Hobson, based in Swan Hill.
“Ever since I could walk, I’ve been riding horses,” she said. “For as long as I can remember, it has been my dream to become a successful jockey and to be an inspiration to future jockeys, just as I have been inspired by other female jockeys such as Michelle Payne and Linda Meech.”
With his father, Darryl, a country trainer and brother, Jye, a jockey, there was every chance Logan would continue the McNeil family tradition and follow them into the racing industry.
Like his brother he will commence his apprenticeship with Gerald Egan, the Mansfield trainer who moulded Luke Nolen and Nick Hall – amongst others – into Group 1-winning jockeys.
“After my first proper gallop on a horse the adrenaline was flowing through my whole body, and from that point on I knew I wanted to become a jockey,” McNeil said.
“I consider myself lucky to have an elder brother in the industry – he’s someone I look up to as a mentor and role model.”
Mel Weatherley, RV’s Athlete and Careers Development Manager, said: “We are excited to welcome the new group of apprentices into the program, and look forward to starting their training in the next few weeks.
“It is hugely rewarding to see the progress these young jockeys make both on and off the track, and I’m sure this latest crop will make their mark in the sport in the coming years.”
Tatum Bull will be apprenticed with trainer Kylie Vella, in Ballarat.
Tayla Childs will be apprenticed with trainer Andrew Noblet, in Caulfield.
Alana Kelly will be apprenticed with trainer Daniel P. Kelly, in Ballarat.
Madison Lloyd will be apprenticed with trainer Nathan Hobson, in Swan Hill.
Logan McNeil will be apprenticed with trainer Gerald Egan, in Mansfield.