RACE In Disarray After 21 Job Losses And Jockeys' Course Scrapped

Former jockey Johnny Murtagh (left) was a graduate of the jockeys' course | Racingfotos.com

The Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE), which has produced luminaries of the saddle like Johnny Murtagh, Seamie Heffernan, Chris Hayes and Shane Foley, has been forced to cull two thirds of its workforce in order to save the institution's future.

A massive 21 of the 31 staff have been told they are no longer needed at RACE and the decision is understood to have come as a major shock to the workforce.

The 10-month residential trainee jockey course, which has also been completed by top-notch jump jockeys such as Brian Hughes and Daryl Jacob, has been discontinued and replaced by three courses over shorter periods. In the case of all three new courses, the students will no longer live on the campus and the courses will no longer have an academic element.

The restructuring of the facility has been overseen by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and comes after accommodation blocks at RACE were closed last month due to safety concerns.

HRI appointed an interim CEO at RACE when such issues arose and, following a strict overhaul, just 10 staff will remain.

RACE is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but the future of the esteemed programme will look very different given students will no longer be based on site and the traditional jockeys' course has now been scrapped.

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