RQ, RV and VJA statements on the passing of Chris Caserta

RQ, RV and VJA statements on the passing of Chris Caserta

Vale Chris Caserta
The Queensland racing industry is mourning the loss of Chris Caserta following his tragic death.

Earlier today, Queensland Police confirmed the Gold Coast-based jockey had been recovered after swimming at Surfers Paradise on Wednesday night.

Having relocated to Queensland in recent times, Caserta was a winner of more than 150 races across the nation, establishing himself as a well-liked and highly regarded lightweight jockey.

“First and foremost, our sincerest condolences are extended to the Caserta family and our thoughts are with them at this tragic time,” Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said.

“The loss of any life is very sad, and at just 26 and with a bright future ahead of him, his loss will be strongly felt by the entire racing community, particularly the Gold Coast fraternity.

“In lieu of the circumstances, Racing Queensland will provide support services for industry participants who are grieving Chris’ loss. It’s important that we rally together and for our participants to be supported.

“We were all hoping that Chris would be found safe and well, but our worst fears have been confirmed, and as an industry, we will grieve his loss.”

Over the weekend, the Queensland Jockeys’ Association has arranged for black armbands to be worn in honour of Caserta in selected races across the state.

This includes race five at today’s Ipswich Turf Club meeting, with Gem of the Lochs, which was Caserta’s last ever winner, among the starters.

As part of RQ’s Mental Health Support Program, industry participants can access confidential counselling and support services on a 24/7 basis via Benestar on 1300 360 364.

RQ will continue to work with the Gold Coast Turf Club to provide onsite support for local participants who may be seeking immediate assistance via a support counsellor.

Vale Chris Caserta

It is with great sadness that Racing Victoria (RV) and the Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) acknowledge the passing of 26-year-old jockey Chris Caserta. 

Before deciding on a racing career, Caserta made an early name for himself on the international stage through Taekwondo, collecting multiple state and national titles and representing Australia in Malaysia and Korea.

At a track riding camp in 2011, Caserta sat on a horse for the first time and after speaking to someone at a school careers expo he decided to apply for Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program (AJTP). 

In January 2012, Caserta was inducted into the program and was apprenticed to trainer Russell Cameron at Flemington. 
Chris went on to make his race riding debut at Wagga in November 2013 with his first winner coming aboard the Matt Laurie-trained Bet You She Rocks at Kyneton in March 2014. 

Caserta had his battles with injury over his career, suffering a fall in October 2014 at a Cranbourne trial which resulted in a broken leg and 18 months away from the sport. 

Chris went on to be apprenticed to Mornington trainers Jason Petch and Wez Hunter throughout 2013 to 2017 before transferring to John Sadler’s stable. 

His maiden metropolitan victory came aboard Sadaqa at Caulfield in April 2017 and in late 2018 Chris made the move to South Australia to ride for Tony McEvoy on loan where he rode the majority of his metropolitan winners. 

Caserta unfortunately suffered another fall at Sale in August 2019 which resulted in a fractured back which meant for another period on the sidelines. 

Chris again made his return to the sport and in December 2020 he relocated to Queensland to further pursue his riding career. 

RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said: “On behalf of the Victorian racing industry, I would like to extend our prayers and heartfelt condolences to Chris’s family and friends on the tragic news of his passing. 

“Chris was a very popular member of the jockey cohort and a talented young rider who was always seen with a smile on his face. 

“His passing is being felt by many within our industry.”

Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) Chief Executive, Matt Hyland, said: “Victoria’s jockeys are devastated to learn of Chris’s tragic passing. To lose such a gifted person and talented jockey in such sad circumstances at just 26 years old is extremely difficult to accept. 

“On behalf of the entire Victorian jockey group, we extend our deepest sympathies to Chris’s family and friends.”

The Caserta family thanked RV and the VJA for their support over the past 24 hours which will continue to be provided to the family during this tragic time.

Members of the racing industry are encouraged to utilise the free, confidential counselling service STABLELINE on 1300 530 122 or the Jockey Assistance Program via Lisa Stevens (0413 616 152) if they are in need of support.