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The New Generation Track Riders

14 Mar 2017

Melbourne Racing Club Foundation supports a new generation of track riders at Melbourne Polytechnic

The MRC Foundation has put its support behind the new generation of track riders by initiating a landmark new program for female track riding hopefuls in partnership with Melbourne Polytechnic.

 The MRC Foundation Melbourne Polytechnic Rider Scholarship aims to raise awareness of opportunities and drive uptake of careers in track riding for women by sponsoring accredited training and providing equipment for experienced riders wanting to take the step into racing.

In September, three young riders, with sights set on careers on the track, began the Certificate III in Racing (Track Rider) at Melbourne’s Polytechnic’s Northern Lodge Stud in Eden Park.

18 year old apprentice Maggie Yashchenko, says the scholarship is a great stepping stone in her planned career path. “I have been riding since I was 10 and have always wanted to work with horses. For now I want to get as much experience as I can in track riding. I then hope to undertake a jockey apprenticeship, and one day, hopefully race.”

“The program is a good mix of practical work and theory, although I like the practical work best” says 16 year old scholarship student Areena Leslight, who, despite her youth, knows exactly where she wants to be in 5 years time.

“I was working as a stable hand when Michelle Payne won the Melbourne Cup, and it was like a light switched on in my head. I want to be a jockey, and the dream will always be the big race, the Melbourne Cup.”

Talia Rodder - Mentor

In addition to experience and training at Melbourne Polytechnic, the scholarship also provides recipients with access to mentoring and advice from program mentor Talia Rodder and support from the networks of the Melbourne Racing Club.

“If we can provide more women with the tools to become the hardest working, most dedicated and safest riders on the track, then that’s a goal I’m willing to put all of my effort behind,” Talia says.

The scholarship currently supports three apprentices, who will graduate with Certificate III in Racing (Track Rider) in early 2017.

For more information about the scholarship and details on the next intake, click here

This article first appeared in 'Keeping Track'