Apprentices honoured as quintet graduate from training program

Victoria’s brightest young riding talent was honoured tonight with five apprentice jockeys graduating from Racing Victoria’s (RV) Apprentice Jockey Training Program (AJTP) and a series of awards presented to those who have excelled both on and off the racetrack.

The ceremony at Flemington Racecourse also saw the induction of nine new members into the AJTP, with seven female and two male riders inducted into the class of 2022.

The five graduating apprentices, who have amassed over 450 wins between them, were Madison Lloyd, Tatum Bull, Alana Kelly, Tayla Childs, and Logan McNeil – three of whom were honoured with awards recognising their achievements while completing the AJTP.

Alana Kelly was presented the Victorian Jockey Association (VJA) Outstanding Apprentice Jockey Award, as a recognition of her riding success, professional conduct, and her standout presentation which has prepared the 22-year-old for future success in the industry.

Kelly has already piloted 129 winners to date, including victories at all Victorian metropolitan tracks and a notable triumph on the Robert Hickmott-trained Degraves on Feehan Stakes Day at The Valley last spring.  

Kelly was also presented the Mikaela Claridge Sportsmanship Award which recognises an apprentice who is perceived as a mentor to other apprentices through their actions of encouragement, guidance, approachability and demonstrates sportsmanship in winning or losing.

The Andrew Gilbert Sport Science Award presented by ERA recognises outstanding achievement by an apprentice in the fields of health and fitness. This year’s award was presented to Tatum Bull, in recognition of her professional approach to her strength and conditioning training and consistently high fitness testing results over the four years.

The RV Elite Apprentice Jockey Award acknowledges the exceptional riding achievements of one of the year’s graduating apprentices. The 2022 award was presented to Madison Lloyd who was the highest ranked graduating apprentice on the premiership table with 58 winners from 702 starters. Among her highlights in 2021 was success in the Donald Cup aboard Portland Jimmy.

Laura Lafferty, who is due to graduate next year, was awarded the Victorian Wakeful Club AJTP Scholarship, which recognises a female apprentice jockey’s excellence in AJTP studies and professionalism both in and out of the saddle. Lafferty receives a $1,000 grant to complete further study or to assist with her career development.

Also graduating tonight were Tayla Childs and Logan McNeil, both of whom have strong family connections to racing. Tayla, the daughter of top jockey Greg Childs and sister of Group 1-winning rider Jordan, has overcome several injury-enforced layoffs to amass 25 career wins as she continues to forge a name for herself in the industry.

McNeil is the brother of multiple Group-1 winner Jye McNeil and has amassed 79 wins to date, including his maiden Saturday metropolitan win onboard Gracias Amigo on New Years Day. Logan has already made headlines for his exceptional horsemanship, spectacularly keeping a stumbling Aspen Snowmass safely under control after it jumped out awkwardly in a race at Kyneton last September.

RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said this was a special evening, to celebrate the achievements of the graduating jockeys and honouring award winners.

“Our five graduating apprentices leave the program having learned invaluable lessons not only from our jockey coaches and experienced staff, but also from the many specialists whose contributions make our program so rewarding.

“The perseverance and self-belief they have all demonstrated during their time in the Apprentice Jockey Training Program, and out on the racetrack, will stand them in good stead for the rest of their professional careers as jockeys.

“All five graduating riders will be an asset to the Victorian jockey population and I want to congratulate them on their careers to date and wish them continued success in the racing industry for many years to come.

“I also want to acknowledge this year’s award winners Alana Kelly, Tatum Bull, Madison Lloyd and Laura Lafferty whose hard work, dedication and performances in the saddle have been duly recognised.”

The nine riders who were tonight inducted into the AJTP’s 2022 class are: Emily Pozman and Thomas Prebble (who are both apprenticed to trainer Peter Moody), Dakotah Keane (Tony Noonan), Jaylah Kennedy (Danny O’Sullivan), Alysha Warren (Danny O’Brien), Ryan Houston (Paul Preusker), Jess Booth (Ciaron Maher), Danica Munro (Liam Howley), and Rose Hammond (Gwenda Johnstone).