Victorian jockeys saddle up to promote equine welfare

Racing Victoria (RV) and the Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) have today announced a major three-year partnership to promote equine welfare and support jockey welfare initiatives.

RV has committed to a three-year sponsorship of all Victorian jockey breeches which, from 1 August 2021, will carry RV’s Off The Track logo, helping to promote numerous post-racing initiatives being undertaken by the industry.

The partnership will deliver important funding to the VJA to assist in jockey welfare initiatives, including funding support for riders and their families during times of need.

Off The Track is central to RV’s post racing strategy and contains a number of welfare programs and initiatives including;

  • Off The Track Acknowledged Retrainers – a statewide network of over 60 retrainers preparing thoroughbreds for life after racing;
  • Off The Track Community – a free online platform at which is improving traceability of retired racehorses with owners registering their retired thoroughbreds and promoting their progress; and
  • Off The Track RESET Program – a program which provides additional support and pathways for horses that have not been successful in transitioning to a second career outside of racing.

The VJA is the representative body for jockeys in Victoria with a key focus on jockey welfare. Its duties include liaising with stakeholders on behalf of riders, undertaking research and development to improve safety measures, and maintaining an active role in safety updates and procedures.

The VJA and RV work closely on a number of welfare initiatives for riders in Victoria, including the Jockey Assistance Program which offers 24/7 counselling and support to riders past and present, a dedicated Chief Medical Officer, and a full-time Jockey Wellbeing and Safety officer.

Quotes attributable to RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson:

“We are thrilled to expand our support of the VJA and the work they’re doing to support riders and their families within Victoria. 

“With millions of people enjoying Victorian racing each year, it is exciting to know that Off The Track will feature prominently each and every day.

“In particular, we’re looking forward to promoting the Off The Track brand in all of our biggest races this Spring Racing Carnival and using that to help showcase some of the important stories and progress being made for horses post-racing.

Off The Track and its various programs, including the newly launched Off The Track Community and the RESET Program, is a key pillar of our equine welfare strategy and we look forward to our riders helping to promote the industry’s post-racing efforts.”

Quotes attributable to VJA Executive Officer, Matthew Hyland:

“This sponsorship provides the opportunity to further expand and develop significant and successful welfare and support programs that RV and the VJA have already established for past and present jockeys and the families of riders we have lost.
“I would urge other state jurisdictions to follow suit and take the opportunity to sponsor their jockeys to help promote the great work the equine welfare programs are doing in our sport.”