History was created when three female apprentice jockeys graduated from a batch of 17 at the passing-out ceremony for the new Jockeys’ Schools trainees on the lawns of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), Hagley Park Road, last Thursday.The young ladies are 21-year-old Mellisa Ward, a past student of Camperdown High; 22-year-old Natalie Berger, a graduate of Gaynstead High; and 24-year-old Andree Powell, a past student of Clarendon College.Prior to this batch, only two women had graduated from the Jockeys’ Training School since its inception in 1980 – Azel Cowie in 1992 and Georgina Sergeon in 2009.The other graduates who completed the 24-week training course from February to July were Oneil Beckford, Dane Dawkins, Odean Edwards, Amoy Gray, Bebeto Harvey, Jerome Innis, Roshane Johnson, Kemoy Parchment, Javaniel Patterson, Hakeem Pottinger, AndrÈ Powell, Oneil Scott, Linton Steadman, and Anthony Thomas. They are scheduled to ride against senior jockeys at Caymanas Park on Saturday, September 26.JRC operations steward Haldene Johansen, who gave the course overview, disclosed that there were “significant changes to the programme this time around as the JRC listened to the stakeholders.””We placed greater emphasis on the core elements of the programme in order to produce well-rounded horsemen,” he said.Emphasis was placed on horsemanship, which was taught by well-known equestrian Susan Wates, race-riding techniques by retired Hall of Fame jockey Charles Hussey (now a steward), personal development, the rules of racing and an expanded nutritional programme to help new riders cope with weight problems.be the bestGuest speaker was former JRC chairman Dennis Lalor, who challenged the class of 2015 to be the best they can be, as they enjoy the opportunity their predecessors of a bygone era never had.Lalor, who as chairman of the JRC in 1980 spearheaded the formation of the Jockeys’ School, recalled that under the old system, the apprentices “were not required to be literate or numerate like the ones coming through the school today, hence the dropout rate was 35 per cent. I vowed to break that cycle … .”You are now the glamour boys and girls of racing. Being educated, this is your opportunity to take advantage of a noble sport, to ensure that corruption is avoided. Please be careful of the company you seek … . God be with all of you, and may your careers be the best,” said Lalor.Also speaking were Jeffrey Mordecai of the JRC sub-committee; Richard Longmore of the JRC; Owners Association president Dr Graham Brown; the respective presidents of the trainers’ associations, Vin Edwards and Dale Murphy; Jockeys’ Guild President AndrÈ Martin; Cedric Stewart, CEO of Caymanas Track Limited; and Ina Lawrence, principal of the Jockeys’ School.
One man is feared dead after the boat in which he was travelling capsized in the Pomeroon River just after midnight on Friday. The man has been identified as 36-year-old David De Souza of Lower Pomeroon River.Based on reports received, De Souza and several others were in a paddle boat when a speedboat drove alongside theirs, causing it to topple.Three of the men reportedly held on to the boat, while De Souza and another fell into the river. De Souza, reportedly in a drunken state, never surfaced. The other man swam to shore.A report was lodged at the Charity Police Station, and two men have been taken into custody to assist with the investigations.Meanwhile, in another accident on the Pomeroon River on Friday evening, the Guyana Times understands that a 3-month-old baby sustained injuries and is consequently battling for his life in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Suddie Public Hospital.Details surrounding that incident are yet to be verified, but Police on the Esssequibo Coast have launched in investigation.In the past, several persons have lost their lives as a result of boat mishaps in the Pomeroon River. A recent fatal boat mishap claimed the life of 18-year-old Ravin Piper.The teenager and members of his family were heading home in a small boat when a collision with a larger boat occurred. The body of the young man was fished out of the river a few days later.Two days after, 19-year-old Denroy Henry had to be hospitalised after a boat ferrying passengers to a funeral collided with a log along the waterway.In light of these occurrences, officials from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) have intensified their education awareness programme on the safe use of the waterway.