Apprentice jockeys applying for a licence for the first time should not weigh more than 9st (126 lbs). The application is made jointly by both trainer and jockey. The trainer must also be able to 'guarantee rides’ for the Apprentice. Applicants will be issued with a ‘minimum riding weight’ (MRW) before a licence is issued. There is a 6-week procedure to obtain a MRW and this involves meeting with the IHRB dietician on two occasions. Apprentice applicants must complete a 2-day induction course in RACE. Applicants with previous experience as a licensed rider or Qualified Rider (Amateur) and RACE graduates may be exempt from the riding assessment which is on the afternoon of day one. Applicants will not be exempt from any other aspect of the course.
Following successful completion of the course, both the apprentice and trainer must attend for interview at the IHRB office. Once a licence is issued, apprentices are initially ‘indentured’ to their employer for a period of 3 years and the terms and conditions of employment are defined in a ‘Deed of Apprenticeship’. Applications should be made well in advance of when you hope to ride as the 2-day induction course is only scheduled every two months.
Professional Jockeys applying for a licence for the first time must be supported by at least two licensed Trainers who are willing to verify the competence of the applicant and be in a position to ’guarantee rides’. Applicants will have to complete a 2-day induction course in RACE. Applicants with previous experience as a licensed rider or Qualified Rider (Amateur) and RACE graduates may be exempt from the riding assessment which is on the afternoon of day one. Applicants will not be exempt from any other aspect of the course.
Following successful completion of the course, applicants are interviewed by the Licensing Committee or their designate. Applicants must also complete a medical examination and a baseline concussion test. More details are provided on the application forms. Applications should be made well in advance of when you hope to ride as the 2-day induction course is only scheduled every two months.
If you are granted a licence, you may be restricted to your employer and/or from riding in Steeplechases until you gain suitable experience. New jockeys must also ride in three Handicap Steeplechases before being eligible to ride in a Beginners or Novice Steeplechases.
There are three categories of Qualified Riders’ permits – Categories A, B and C. All first-time applicants are only eligible to apply for a Category A permit.
Category (A) permits are further sub-divided between Category A1 and A3.
Those applying for a Category A1 must be 16 years old and those applying for a Category A3 must be 17 years old.
A Category A1 permit allows you to ride in Irish National Hunt Flat Races (Bumpers and pro-ams) only and flat races in which Qualified Riders under Rule 135 are permitted to ride.
A Category A3 permit allows you to ride in all races that a Category A1 permit holder can ride in as well as in Point-to-Point Steeplechases.
To be considered for a permit, all Applicants must undertake a Practical Test/Assessment and a Course Day. The assessment takes place at the Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE) in Kildare town on a designated date. It is conducted by two Instructors from RACE and one IHRB Racing Official. The Course Day is lecture based and again takes place at RACE. Lectures cover such areas as the Rules of Racing and Health and Safety. You must have a detailed knowledge of the Rules of Racing and INHS Rules that are applicable to you as a Qualified Rider.
Upon successful completion of both the practical assessment and the course day, a medical exam by an IHRB nominated doctor, a baseline concussion test and the opening of your Horse Racing Ireland account must also be completed before any permit can be issued.
Further details of the baseline concussion test will be supplied once you have successfully completed your practical assessment. For more information on the Concussion Assessment, click here.
Assessments are held approximately every six weeks. To be considered for assessment, a completed application form and medical questionnaire must be returned to the Licensing Department at the IHRB.
Applicants should have a minimum of 10 rides before consideration will be given for an upgrade from Category A3 to Category B and a further 10 rides before consideration will be given to upgrade from Category B to Category C. Applications for a Category B permit will only be considered from those that have ridden in point to points. This may be reviewed upon proven ability.
A Category B permit entitles you to ride in those races listed under A3 plus Hunter chases and Hurdles & Chases confined to Qualified Riders.
A Category C permit allows you to ride in all races open to Qualified Riders unless the race conditions specify otherwise, plus 21 races open to professional jockeys in any one season. If you ride a horse owned by your immediate family in races open to professionals, such rides will not count against the 21 rides allowed against professionals.
All upgrade applications are considered and approved by the Licensing Committee.
The licensing year for Qualified Riders starts on the 1st September and ends on the 31st August each year.
For more information and licensing forms visit https://ihrb.ie/5-jockeys