Royal Randwick Jockeys Reunion

Royal Randwick Jockeys Reunion

by Bernard Kenny

“The inaugural Former Jockeys Reunion will be conducted at Royal Randwick this Saturday 3 August commencing at 12noon in the Old Jockeys Room,” said Tony Crisafi, the new Chief Executive of the NSW Jockeys Association.

“The NSWJA is looking to attract a sizeable turnout for this inaugural event. In addition to those 54 former jockeys who are already attending we ask those to alert their fellow ‘hoops’ and to register with the Association.”

“Of course, there will be no cost to former jockeys and there will be complimentary Members tickets available to all former jockeys and a guest. We will have a blessing and a minute’s silence, before the former jockeys mingle with current jockeys.”

This Randwick meeting heralds in the 2019-2020 Racing Season, and will celebrate the former Kiwi whiz-kid James Mc Donald as the newly crowned Sydney Champion Jockey.

In claiming the Sydney title James McDonald with 104 wins is 27 ahead of Tommy Berry on 77 wins with former champion Hugh Bowman third on 70 victories. In all James’ 485 rides amassed over $10.1m in prizemoney and he rode a total of 192 placegetters.

In finishing the season with a 21% win ratio, he has a 12% strike rate in Group 1 races for $6.2 million in prizemoney. James rode 54 winners for Sydney champion trainer Chris Waller and winning $7.3 million in stakes, with his best success being at Warwick Farm with 27 wins at a 28% ratio.

James won six Group 1 events throughout the season with Verry Elleegant winning the Australian Oaks and Vinery Stud Stakes, Avilius in the Tancred Stakes and Nature Strip in The Galaxy. In Melbourne he won the Caulfield Stakes on The Autumn Sun and the Empire Rose Stakes on Shillelagh.

The former Irish apprentice Robbie Dolan has certainly made his mark in Australia in winning the Sydney Apprentice Jockey title with 48 wins from 385 rides with his mounts winning $3.5m in stakes.

Inspired by his father who handled the 2004 Irish Derby winner Grey Swallow, and a time with his brother Barry who trains in Florida, Robbie Dolan joined the Irish Apprentice School.

However, after only winning five races from 100 rides in Ireland, Robbie took up a sponsorship visa with Randwick based Mark Newnham who stated ‘Robbie is riding so well that it won’t be long before he has no claim and is riding on equal footing with Hugh Bowman and James McDonald.’

The NSW Jockeys’ Association sit under the umbrella of the Australian Jockeys’ Association which was incorporated in 2005, with each state and territory represented by two delegates.

Today jockeys and their families have benefited from some significant milestones in promoting the education, industrial health and safety interest for jockeys. Also, to negotiate the development a nationwide protection of insurance, superannuation and pension fund for all jockeys.

A Public Liability Insurance has been established with premiums paid by jockeys on a per cost of riding fees. The National Jockey Trust assists injured jockeys and their families who meet with ‘necessitous circumstances’ and is sponsored by JAYCO Australia and LUCRF Super.

Today 1% of national industry prizemoney, or its equivalent, is allocated each year to fund jockeys Public Liability Insurance, Personal Accident Insurance and various Welfare programs.

Improved Workers Compensation conditions with governments has achieved payments to riders who are injured or suffer career ending injuries in such a high-risk profession.

The Australian Taxation Office introduced Super Guarantee payments on jockey riding fees, and to be retrospective for five years if documentary proof of their rides and payments could be provided.

Safety, Health and Welfare improvements on safer tracks and protective riding gear and provision of both a Sports Physician and Psychologist to assist injured and affected jockeys.

Australian jockeys agreed to make a contribution to the Australian Jockeys’ Association from their riding fees to assist the national peak body with general administration costs.