Victoria set to defend National Apprentice Race Series crown

A revamped version of the National Apprentice Race Series (NARS), Australia’s premier competition for apprentice jockeys, gets underway with the Tasmanian leg in Hobart on Saturday, 9 March and culminates with the Victorian finale at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown) on Wednesday, 3 April. 

Inaugurated in 2008, the series draws together apprentice jockeys from across the country to represent the state in which they are registered to ride.

Points are awarded to every state’s nominated jockey in each of the five races, with the winner receiving seven points and the runner-up five. Third place is rewarded with three points, fourth place gets two points and all unplaced riders receive one point. 

The state that accumulates the most points across the series will be crowned the overall winner, with Victoria taking the title in 2018.  

This year, in order to streamline the competition, the five legs of the NARS will take place over a condensed three-and-a-half week period.

Other new additions include jockeys wearing coloured race breeches, sponsored by LUCRF Super, to represent their respective states, with Victorian apprentices donning navy and white. 

Following the opening race in Hobart, where Mikaela Claridge will represent Victoria, it is Western Australia’s turn to welcome the apprentices when Ascot plays host on Wednesday, 13 March. 

Doomben stages the Queensland leg one week later before Strathalbyn, in South Australia, hosts the penultimate race in the series on Wednesday, 27 March. The curtain then comes down on the 2019 NARS seven days later with the finale at Sandown.    

Matt Pumpa, RV’s Apprentice Jockey Coach, believes the Victorian apprentices will benefit from testing themselves against their peers from across the country. 

“Since it began in 2008, the National Apprentice Race Series has given our young riders the opportunity to prove themselves against some of Australia’s most talented up-and-coming jockeys,” said Pumpa. 

“I have no doubt the apprentices taking part will improve their riding skills and benefit from the experience, and the shorter schedule this year should ensure a fiercely competitive series. May the best state win!”