National Apprentice Race Series
The National Apprentice Race Series (NARS) is Australia’s premier apprentice-only race series and showcases the riding talents of the country’s most exciting young jockeys.
First conducted in 2008, the Series draws together apprentices from across Australia to represent their state in a collection of races in six states and territories.
Points are awarded for the top five placings in each leg of the series as follows; first – 7, second – 5, third – 3, fourth – 2 and fifth – 1, with the state that accumulates the most points crowned the winner.
Angus Chung, Ben Price, Maggie Collett and Ellis Wong formed Team SA for the 2022 series, and were successful in delivering SA's seventh NARS title since 2008.
The Racing SA Apprentice Academy is confident that it has the talent to go back-to-back in the National Apprentice Race Series (NARS), which starts in the Northern Territory in March.
A team of six South Australian apprentice jockeys have been selected to defend the title that SA won last year.
NARS is Australia’s premier apprentice-only race series and showcases the riding talents of the country’s most exciting young jockeys.
“It’s a series that we love to compete in, and we take great pride in performing on the National stage,” said Apprentice Academy Master Briony Moore.
“I don’t hide the fact that we are in it to win it, we have great confidence in our apprentices, and the team we have selected will give us every opportunity to get the job done.
“In picking the team, we look at what jockeys perform well on particular tracks, their current form, overall conduct and attitude throughout the year, and then place them in the particular heat of the series we think they will perform best in.
“It’s also a reward for all the hard work that our apprentices have done throughout the year. They get to travel, take a few days off, and show what they’re capable of to the rest of Australia,” she said.
SA apprentices have enjoyed more success in NARS than any other state. The Crow-eaters have won the series seven times in the 15 years that it’s been running.
“I just think that our riders are as competitive as anyone else on a national stage and each and every week they’re getting a high number of rides to develop their skills,” said Moore.
“I love watching the growth in the riders, and to see the pride when they have been picked to represent their state. The apprentices also get to meet other up-and-coming young riders they know only from a name in the form guide, and talk to trainers from right around Australia, and see how other states do things differently so it’s great for their professional development.”
Team SA includes:
Heat 1 – Jade Doyle @ Fannie Bay Racecourse, NT (Sat, 4th March)
Heat 2 – Ellis Wong @ Belmont Racecourse, WA (Wed, 15th March)
Heat 3 – Felicity Atkinson @ Ladbrokes Park Elwick, TAS (Sun, 19th March)
Heat 4 – Stacey Callow @ Strathalbyn Racecourse, SA (Wed, 22nd March)
Heat 5 – Ben Price @ Eagle Farm Racecourse, QLD (Wed, 29th March)
Heat 6 (final) – Jacob Opperman @ Ladbrokes Park Sandown, VIC (Wed, 19th April)
In a slight change to previous years, apprentices will ride in two heats at each venue, meaning more opportunities and more points are up for grabs.
“We’ve revamped it a little bit this year and riders that travel will be guaranteed two rides and allocated two horses on the day which makes it fairer for the smaller states, and gives them more opportunity to be able to win regardless of them having to sit out a leg or two.
“It’s great to see that Western Australia and the Northern Territory have re-joined the series for the first time since the pandemic, which provides more depth and gives apprentices the chance to ride in even more states,” said Moore.
Jade Doyle kicks off the series for Team SA in her home state, the Northern Territory, on March 4.