The Racing Academy & Centre of Education (RACE) was established in 1973 as a social project to offer support to young racing apprentices and has gradually evolved over more than forty years to become the national training academy for the Irish horseracing industry offering courses for jockeys, stable staff, racehorse trainers, breeders and others involved in the thoroughbred sector.

RACE is a not-for-profit educational initiative and registered charity supported by various State agencies and the racing industry.

An attractive campus has been developed on the edge of the Curragh plains in Kildare which serves as a hub for the industry and, in addition to extensive training facilities, houses several of racing’s representative bodies and the Irish School of Farriery.

Race Courses

Trainee Jockey Course

The Trainee Jockey Course is a 42-week residential programme based on the RACE campus from Monday to Friday. Successful participants receive a QQI Level 4 Major Award on the National Framework of Qualifications. Immediately upon graduation students are prepared for a full-time job and careers in the Equine Industry and the prospect of a career a Jockey. For those students who demonstrate high levels of riding skills and commitment RACE assist them with their preparations to apply for their apprentice or conditional jockey licence. The course is funded by the Kildare & Wicklow Education & Training Board, equuip (Horse Racing Ireland) and other industry stakeholders.


Junior Academy

RACE run several Junior Academy days every year for young people aged from 10 to 16 years, with a dream of becoming a jockey. These training days are open to ALL from experienced pony race riders to riders with no experience of racing, but a dream of becoming a jockey. Junior Academy days are funded by equuip. Riders are grouped by their age and experience so that everyone is of a similar level of ability. Activities for each day are planned around each level of experience and RACE aim to make these days a lot of fun. Places are limited to 10 riders per academy day. RACE accept registrations for these courses all year around, so if you would like to register for future Junior Academy days please click the button below.

Schooling Progression Course

This is a 1-day course run several times a year for Qualified / Conditional riders who wish to improve their skills under the guidance of the most successful point-to-point rider of all time, Derek O’Connor and the team of RACE instructors. This course is funded by equuip and delivered by RACE. The objective of this course is to improve the technical and tactical riding skills of Qualified and Conditional riders to help them understand the importance of fitness and race-riding preparation. This course is very popular and restricted to just 6 riders per course. Early registration is advised, and you can register an interest for future courses if scheduled courses are full.

Schooling Preparation Course

This is a 1-day course, funded by equuip, designed to provide intensive training on schooling over obstacles, simulator coaching, and training required for race-riding. The course also includes video analysis of riding using analysis software.

This course offers professional training of the highest standard for riders who plan to apply for a category A3 Qualified Riders licence or those who plan to apply for a conditional rider’s licence in the future. Training is delivered by RACE staff.

RACE Mobile Training Unit

RACE in 2021 launched their new Mobile Training Unit. They offer flexible training options for Racing Staff and Licensed Riders across Ireland.

The mobile unit consists of:

  • High-spec simulator and video facility for jockey coaching
  • Whip tuition and coaching assessments 
  • Delivered in the workplace with no disruption to daily routine
  • A range of flexible training options for the convenience of employers and employees.

Introduction to Thoroughbred Care & Exercise

This course is suitable for anyone seeking to gain entry to pursue a career within the Thoroughbred Industry. Training options include Riding and Non-riding.

The course consists of a mandatory two-week period of training, with the option to progress with training up to a six-week period.

Learners on this programme will learn and develop skills to enable them to work within the Thoroughbred Industry.

The training for this course is fully funded by equuip.