Aitken follows father's footsteps

Rider selected into training program

BENDIGO teen Mitch Aitken has been inducted into Racing Victoria’s prestigious Jockey Training Program.

Aitken is just one of eight people in the state to be selected in the program which offers young riders that chance to develop their skills.

The 16-year-old said he had grown up around horses and was looking forward to this opportunity.

“I really can’t wait to start the program,” he said.

“I think it would be a really good experience.”

Aitken said he had always wanted to be in the horse racing industry, following in the footsteps of his father Ron, a jockey.

“Dad is really proud of me and my mum has always supported in me,” he said.

The program participants underwent a rigorous selection progress to gain entry into the four-year program which offers specialist learning in race riding, performance analysis, sports science and business skills.

The Bendigo Senior Secondary College student will also be paired with Mansfield trainer Gerald Egan, who has previously overseen the apprenticeships of Group 1-winning jockeys Luke Nolen and Nick Hall.

“I will definitely learn a lot from Gerald,” Aitken said.

Racing Victoria's acting chief executive Greg Carpenter said the program would prepare riders for the rigours of life as a domestic jockey. 

“These apprentices will not only hone their race riding skills, learn how to live, eat and train as professional athletes, but will also be equipped with the skills and support required to develop a career post riding," he said. 

I look forward to following their development and watching on when they ride their first of many winners.”

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