New Jockey Recognition Badge Scheme Announced for Former Jockeys
A new jockeys’ recognition badge is to be launched for jockeys who have successfully ridden out their claim.
This badge provides complimentary access to all racecourses and is a further acknowledgement of the dedication and service given by jockeys to the sport. The RCA has worked collaboratively with the PJA to arrange the administration of this badge with both organisations fully supportive.
To qualify for the Jockeys Recognition Badge, a retired jockey is required to have ridden out their claim—95 winners for flat jockeys and 75 winners for jump. Details of applying for the badge will be shared shortly.
The Jockeys Recognition Badge scheme was developed in conjunction with Josh Apiafi, himself a former amateur jockey and chief executive of the PJA. The RCA Board unanimously agreed to the idea in acknowledgement of the skill and dedication required to ride out a claim and also to provide retired jockeys with a sense of community following their retirement—a theme highlighted by Josh Apiafi as being very important to any retired jockey and their ongoing positive mental health.
David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the RCA, commented: “The Jockey Recognition Badge is a fantastic initiative and demonstrates our gratitude to jockeys for their service to the sport. As elite sports people, jockeys are incredibly skilful with years of dedicated training required. Riding out a claim is difficult to do and as such should be recognised. Our thanks to the PJA and Josh Apiafi for their assistance in bringing it to life.
“The RCA works collaboratively with our members to continue to work towards inclusion across the sport. Mental health remains a key subject for us and I hope that this badge is another initiative which will make a big difference to its recipients.”
Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of the PJA, commented: “On behalf of our former jockeys, we’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to the RCA Board and to Josh for getting this initiative across the line. We know from the existing badge scheme that whilst jockeys who no longer ride don’t use their RCA badge often as the vast majority have second careers, it is something that can mean a lot, recognising as it does the dedication and commitment to the sport they have given.
“I have no doubt the change to the qualifying criteria will be widely welcomed and it will complement some of our other plans for engagement and support for our former members.”
It is hoped the badge will add a sense of community and inclusion for retired jockeys to promote positive mental health.
Josh Apiafi commented: “The support of the jockey profession by all areas of the racing industry is sport-leading. I was fortunate enough to sit on the Professional Players Federation for a number of years and it really hit home how far clear we are in terms of our commitment to our retired athletes, both human and equine.
“The advent of the Jockeys Recognition Badge further shows the commitment of the RCA and its members to Jockey welfare. I’ve been overwhelmed by the calls and messages from jockeys past and present, passing on their thanks for assisting in the launch of this fantastic initiative.”