Alf Matthews appointed RV's new Apprentice Jockey Coach

Multiple Group 1-winning jockey Alf Matthews will help mould the riding stars of the future after he was announced as Racing Victoria’s (RV) new Apprentice Jockey Coach.

Matthews, who completed his apprenticeship in 1977 and spent 21 years in the saddle before retiring from riding in 1998, has replaced Matt Pumpa after he joined the Singapore Turf Club as their apprentice and claiming jockey coach.

In partnership with his fellow coach Darren Gauci, against whom he rode countless times during their respective careers, Matthews will now guide the aspiring hoops through their four years in the Apprentice Jockey Training Program (AJTP), which has produced the likes of Craig Williams, Blake Shinn, Katelyn Mallyon and Stephanie Thornton.  

Matthews has been involved in the AJTP on a part-time basis for the past two decades, acting as mentor and race tactics coach since 2001. Matthews has also served as the Strategic Racing Analyst in RV’s Integrity Services department for the past seven years, during which time he has been involved in the development and evolution of the control room which provides real-time support to the stewards’ panels across the state.

In both roles Matthews has been able to call on a wealth of riding experience, having amassed more than 1,600 winners – ten at Group 1 level – during a globetrotting career which included stints in Japan, Hong Kong and Italy.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the RV integrity team,” said Matthews, who also carved out a career in the media after retiring from the saddle.

“I want to thank them for their support both throughout my time with the team, and in my switch to this new role.

“I have always loved teaching young riders and after 18 years of working with the program on a part-time basis, I’m really excited at the opportunity to take a more hands-on role and get out in the field again.

“We have such an amazing group of young and emerging riders here in Victoria, and I want to ensure that they reach their potential and become great ambassadors for our sport.”

Mel Weatherley, RV’s Athlete and Careers Development Manager, welcomed Matthews’ appointment, saying: “Alf brings great experience to the role, particularly in race analytics and tactics, and the years he has already spent with the apprentices in his part-time position with the AJTP should ensure a seamless transition.  

“I have no doubt he will continue the fine work carried out in recent years by Matt Pumpa, and with Darren Gauci alongside him as our other Apprentice Jockey Coach, the future of young riders here in Victoria is in very safe hands.”