Respected Queensland trainer Pat Duff believes he has a simple solution to solve the current shortage of Saturday metropolitan apprentice jockeys.
Of the top 10 riders on the Brisbane apprentices’ premiership there are six either now senior riders or riding full-time interstate.
Duff has been a leading trainer for 50 years and is also renowned for producing outstanding apprentice riders including Mick Dittman, Mike Pelling, Jim Byrne, and Mandy Radecker.
He believes the problem is young riders are being directed away from riding in the city and not towards it.
“For some reason in Queensland they have introduced licences which allow apprentices to ride in the city on Wednesdays but not Saturdays,” Duff said.
“It is akin to having a driver’s licence which says you can drive Monday to Friday in town but not on Saturday. It makes no sense.”
Duff said once an apprentice was ready to ride in metropolitan races they should be able to ride in all of them.
“Take my apprentice Beany Panya. She has a midweek city licence but under Queensland rules can’t ride in town on Saturdays,” he said.
“She could have had two rides in Sydney last Saturday but had to knock them back because of our rules.
“She is well up to riding in metropolitan Saturday races.”
Duff said the Queensland rule which designated Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville midweek programs as provincial TAB status wasn’t helping the overall picture.
“You have apprentices outriding their provincial allowance up there and then struggling to get rides when they come to the south east provincials,” Duff said.
“In NSW, Grafton, Ballina, and co are classed as country TAB. It should the same here.”