O’Keefe wants jockeys to have greater supervision

By: Chris Bassani
December 21st, 2011

The Victorian Jockeys Association is in talks with Racing Victoria Limited on the issue of accountability for young jockeys.

The VJA wants the RVL to adopt the West Australian approach where the state’s controlling body employs the apprentices and has a greater say in their development.

”It’s the most demanding lifestyle of any sportsman that I can imagine,” VJA chief Des O’Keefe said.

”The pressure on these people is incredible and it is so easy to go the wrong way for some of them.

“They (apprentices) can have access to large amounts of money at a young age and are involved in a physically and mentally demanding sport.”

O’Keeffe said his association had watched the WA Racing And Wagering model.

”It works well,” he said.

”It would give RVL a far greater say in what apprentices are doing, who they are mixing with and where they are living.

“It’s a duty of care issue to make sure they don’t go off the rails.

“It certainly wouldn’t be the answer to the whole problem, but if it meant it helped one or two of these young people to stay on track, then it surely would be worth it.”

Apprentices are employed by trainers.

Regular apprentice school sessions have limited impact on how they are developed on or off the track.

One hoop that went off the rails is Melbourne Cup winning hoop Blake Shinn.

The 24-year-old returns to race riding at Sandown today after being suspended from riding for 12 months due to gambling.

Shinn has rides on two outsiders Distillery in the 68 Hcp (1200m, 4pm EST) and Tellora in a 68 Hcp (1600m, 5.20 EST).

”I just wanted a low-key return with my family around me,” he said this week.


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