top of page


The South

African Jockey Academy

Follow us on social media


In an environment of courage and integrity, hard work and responsibility, we aim to produce leading international jockeys of excellence who are academically well rounded and equipped with skills for life.


The South African Jockey Academy has produced dozens of supremely talented jockeys who have gone on to win big races on every continent. They’ve become sporting idols in South Africa and champion winners in places as far flung as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Macau, Mauritius, Singapore, and Australia.

A jockey apprenticeship lasts five years, where you will focus on practical riding and horsemanship training.

In addition, the South African Jockey Academy provides a career focused and customised educational curriculum to National Senior Certificate as well as the National Certificate in Equine Studies.

The first three months at the Academy is a period of intensive riding tuition where your ability is carefully assessed to ascertain whether you have the talent, character, and motivation to become a successful jockey. Basic training lasts for between six months to a year, depending on your ability and will to succeed, after which you will be ready to ‘ride work’ at the training tracks. During these ‘work ride’ sessions you will ride a number of racehorses to give them their daily exercise and training. All training is supervised by the Academy Riding Masters.

On successful completion of your course, you will be awarded a jockey license from The National Horseracing Authority of South Africa (NHA) and a Diploma in Jockeyship from the South African Jockey Academy (SAJA).


Countries where graduates of the South African Jockey Academy have been Champion Jockey are:

Mauritius, where there has been no less than 10 champion jockeys 

Jeffrey Lloyd in Australia

Barend Vorster and Mark Du Plessis in Singapore

Mark Khan and Gavin Van Zyl in Macau

Michael (Muis) Roberts in the UK

Bartie Leisher, Robert Fradd, Basil Marcus (7 times) and Douglas Whyte (13 Times) Champion Jockey of Hong Kong.



Recognised as the Jockey Training Academy of choice by the Asian Federation

The South African Jockey Academy operates as a boarding school and the daily life of an apprentice jockey is a very tough one that entails long and hard hours of work and great effort. Apprentices must be 100% committed, dedicated and focused in order to endure the rigors of an apprentice schedule. An average day for the apprentice jockey is outlined below.

04h00: Wake Up and prepare for work riding

04h30: Depart the Academy to ride work at either the Summerveld or Ashburton Training Centres

05h00: Work Riding begins under the supervision of the Jockey Coach on duty and the horse’s Trainer

09h00: Work Riding ends for the day and the apprentice return to the Academy

09h30: Shower, dress and eat breakfast in preparation for school

10h30: School Day starts

13h10: Lunch

13h40: Return to School

14h40: Last lesson ends for Grade 10 & 11

15h40: Last lesson ends for Grade 12

15h00: Stable Duties, Riding Lesson and Video Analysis

17h00: Free Time until Supper

17h30: Supper

18h30: Prep (Homework time)

19h30: Free Time

21h00: Lights Out for 1st Year apprentices

21h30: Lights Out for 2nd - 5th Year apprentices

bottom of page