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The Final for the Racing Excellence Hands and Heels Series

19 October 2015

Patrick O’Donnell leads the Apprentice Hands and Heels Series

The Final for the Racing Excellence Hands and Heels Series will be held at Newbury on Friday 23 rd October. Patrick O’Donnell leads the series by 8 points to Danielle Mooney in second. Patrick who is Apprentice to Ralph Beckett has ridden in 6 of the 11 races in the series winning one. Since taking out his licence Patrick has ridden 28 winners, 26 of those have been this year making this his best season to date.

Throughout the 11 race series, Jockeys are awarded points for walking the course, professionalism, presentation riding skills and place points. In the final Jockeys will be awarded place points only, 1 st place – 5pts, 2 nd place – 3pts, 3 rd place – 2pts and 4 th place - 1 pt. Jockeys riding in the hands and heels races may carry a stick and are allowed to pull the stick through but are not allowed to use it for encouragement.  

Racing Excellence runs alongside the Jockey Coaching Programme (JCP) and is the industry accreditation for all apprentice and conditional races which run under hands and heels or training race conditions. Initially set up by The British Racing School as ‘Support for Young Jockeys’ in 2006, the BHA rebranded the scheme in 2010 as ‘Racing Excellence’. In February 2014 The British Racing School took over the management of Racing Excellence and The JCP. The latter gives all Apprentices and Conditionals the opportunity to have a coach. All coaches who are all ex Jockeys can be on hand to help with fitness, riding technique, nutrition and race reviews. A coach will attend every Racing Excellence race to conduct the pre-race course walk and then will also debrief afterwards.

The Apprentices will certainly be in good hands for the final as the coach on course will be multiple classic winning ex jockey John Reid. John rode 1,937 winners in the UK, and gained 48 international Group 1 race victories during his career.

The winner of the series will collect a £1000 prize of their choice to be used towards developing their career, this could be anything from a fuel card to a horse simulator. Previous winners of the Hands and Heels Apprentice Series include David Parkes, Shelley Birkett and Daniel Muscutt.


For more information on Racing Excellence or the Jockey Coaching Programme please contact Jennie Durrans, jennie@brs.org.uk or call 01638 669039.

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