Love horses and have a need for speed? Here’s an exciting opportunity for you
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The South African Jockey Academy (SAJA) is continuing its exciting search for the next generation of champion jockeys in Johannesburg this month.
South Africa has produced some of the world’s best jockeys over the years, among them Michael ‘Muis’ Roberts, Felix Coetzee, Garth Puller and Weichong Marwing in previous generations and more recently rising stars such as Muzi Yeni, S’Manga Khumalo, Lyle Hewitson, Luke Ferraris and Gavin Lerena.
Now, if you have a need for speed and you love animals and horses, you too could one day add your name in South African jockey lights – though of course the criteria is quite strict.
If you are born between 2002-2005, you are sporty, fit, brave, not scared of animals, love speed and weigh no more than 47kg and are no taller than 166cm, then SAJA is looking for you.
If you are a South African citizen, then this is your chance to take part in the recruitment process and see if you have what it takes to become a champion jockey.
The SAJA recruitment process takes place in Johannesburg at Randjesfontein on Saturday 29 May 2021.
The recruitment process will start from 10am, but it is critical that aspirant jockeys register their interest on the recruitment landing page at https://saja.216.co.za.
The South African Jockey Academy (SAJA) has a wealth of experience and has been educating and training professional jockeys over the last 63 years. SAJA has produced no less than 29 Champion Jockeys in 7 countries and has produced a number of South African Champion Jockeys.
SAJA embraces 21st Century technology and adopts a scientific holistic approach to the training of professional jockeys. Through focusing on the process of continual development of skills and appreciation of the sport, the SAJA places each athlete at the core of its programme and ensures they are equipped to rise to the needs and demands required of an elite jockey.
“Do you have that desire to be a champion to walk in the footsteps of previous champion jockeys, both in South Africa and around the world? Then you have to take the first step and make yourself available at the recruitment sessions to ensure that you give yourself a chance to attend the South African Jockey Academy, where you will be supported to realize your potential as an apprentice jockey by our world-class coaching and support staff, who focus on developing elite jockeys as elite sportsmen and women,” said SAJA Headmaster, Graham Bailey.
Top jockey Muzi Yeni is one of the riders who has come through the academy and apprentice system and ridden over 100 winners this season already.
“Many who first join the recruitment process have never even sat on a horse before and it can be intimidating at first. But my experience in becoming a professional jockey has been phenomenal. I am grateful that after all the hard work I’ve put in, my goals are now being realised, but there is so much I still want to achieve in the sport,” says Yeni.
Kabelo Matsunyane, who has gone through the SAJA programme and is nearing the end of his apprenticeship ahead of qualifying as a professional jockey this month, said: “My apprenticeship has been a wonderful journey and it has taught me a lot as a young adult. Like any other career path, it has its ups and downs, but in the end it was all worth it. It's a fascinating and exciting sport to be in and I am proud to be part of this amazing game.”