From pony club to the racetrack

JACKIE Elliott has been selected to join Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program.

The 16-year-old from Briagolong has moved to Gisborne to train as an apprentice at the Patrick Payne racing stables. Patrick Payne is the brother of Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne.

The four-year apprenticeship will include extensive coaching and riding training, as well as learning how to live, eat and train as elite sportspeople, according to RV’s athlete development and industry career’s advisor Melissa Weatherly.

“The high performance program … offers specialist learning in areas such as race riding, performance analysis, sports science and sports medicine, as well as media, finance and business skills,” she said.

It will prepare the apprentices for an international career, as well as backup qualifications for life post-racing.

Jackie joins six other young people from across Victoria.

Mother Jenny said she was extremely proud.

“She loves it, she can’t wait to start race-riding,” she said

“She just needs to get her name out there.”

“It’s great for the Briagolong Pony Club, it’s great to know someone who’s going into the industry.

“It’s very good for Gippsland too, hopefully she comes home and races here.”

After completing a week’s work experience at the Stockdale Racing Stables last year, Jackie decided to pursue a career in the industry, complementing her studies in physical education and sports science at high school.

“Frank Stockdale has been very supportive, they helped get in touch with the Paynes,” Jackie said.

“It’s the best program in Australia, there were a couple of kids from Queensland that came all the way down here to join last year.

“We are all very excited here.”