Vale Mikaela Claridge
It is with great sadness that Racing Victoria (RV) and the Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) confirm the passing of 22-year-old apprentice jockey Mikaela Claridge as a result of injuries sustained in a trackwork accident at the Cranbourne Training Centre this morning.
Mikaela was dislodged from her horse while riding on the sand trails on the southern side of the Training Centre at approximately 4.35am. She was attended to by the on-course paramedic but was tragically unable to be saved.
WorkSafe, with the cooperation of the Cranbourne Turf Club, are investigating the circumstances of the accident.
Mikaela was inducted into RV’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program in 2015 and was apprenticed to trainer Allan Clarke at Hamilton.
A back injury saw her riding career put on hold for an extended period, during which time she undertook and ultimately completed a Bachelor of Primary Education.
Mikaela returned to the saddle riding trackwork in 2017 having moved to Echuca under the tutelage of trainers Donna Gaskin and Mick Cornish.
She made her race riding debut at Wangaratta in August 2018 aboard King’s Hand, finishing second, and celebrated her maiden victory aboard the same horse at Echuca on 6 September 2018.
Mikaela, who this year transferred her apprenticeship to trainer Ken Keys at Cranbourne, went on to win another 28 races during her short riding career, the most recent at Sale on 11 July 2019.
RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said: “On behalf of the Victorian racing industry, I would like to extend our prayers and heartfelt condolences to Mikaela’s family and friends on the tragic news of her passing as a result of a training accident this morning.
“Mikaela was a talented young rider who was pursuing a career in the sport she loved. She was a much loved and valuable member of the racing community and her sad passing is being felt by many within our industry today.”
Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) Chief Executive, Matt Hyland, said: “The VJA and our members are incredibly saddened by the loss of our colleague and friend Mikaela Claridge, and extend our condolences to her family and friends.
“We are all going to miss Mikaela’s bright smile and positive attitude. After injury initially stalled her apprenticeship, she had started to build a really promising riding career over the past 12 months working with horses she loved.
“Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with Mikaela’s family, friends and fellow riders who we are supporting in association with Racing Victoria and the National Jockeys Trust.”
Cranbourne Turf Club (CTC) Chief Executive, Neil Bainbridge, said: “This was a tragic accident and one that has deeply saddened all at the Cranbourne Turf Club and our local racing community.
“WorkSafe have commenced an investigation into the incident and the Club will afford them every support in doing so.
“On behalf of the Club, I wish to extend our sincere condolences to Mikaela’s family and friends on her tragic passing. She was a popular member of the Cranbourne racing community and will be sadly missed.”
RV, VJA, CTC, Country Racing Victoria (CRV) and the National Jockeys Trust are working together to support Mikaela’s family, local racing community and industry employees with counselling and support.
Members of the racing industry are encouraged to utilise the free, confidential counselling service STABLELINE on 1300 530 122 if they are in need of support at this tragic time.