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Young jockey inducted into training program

Seymour's Tahlia Hope will spend the next four years training as an apprentice jockey with Racing Victoria, as this year's youngest female inductee.

JENNA BISHOP January 22, 2014 4:19am

Seymourís Tahlia Hope has been accepted as one of nine apprentice jockeys in Racing Victoriaís 2014 Apprentice Jockey Training Program.

A young Seymour girl has been accepted into a prestigious training program for young jockeys with Racing Victoria as 2014’s youngest inductee.

Tahlia Hope, 15, has begun her jockey training after being accepted into the course in December.

It was almost inevitable that Hope would eventually start a career in the horse industry — she is the goddaughter of star international jockey Craig Williams and the niece of Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Blake Shinn.

Her father is Seymour-based trainer Shannon Hope, while her grandfather is Lee Hope and the 15-year-old will train in their stables for the duration of her four-year course.

‘‘I grew up with racing,’’ she said.

‘‘You could say it was (inevitable).’’

Hope said she was looking forward to working with her family, although she expected the work to be hard.

‘‘I couldn’t see it any other way,’’ she said.

Hope started her training early — she was just three-and-a-half when she entered her first leading rein competition and has competed successfully in several show hunter pony competitions, including the prestigious Grand National Championships in Sydney.

She’s already completed three jumpouts in the past two months, with one in Seymour, although Hope and her father aren’t anticipating she’ll be racing until about December.

‘‘I’m hoping to be racing by the end of the year, but it could be later, it all depends,’’ she said.

Hope is the youngest of six female athletes who joined Victoria’s apprentice jockey ranks last Wednesday, representing record female participation in a single apprentice group in Victoria’s history.

Hope said she felt priveleged to be selected into the program after auditioning against almost 40 other people.

‘‘I was stoked to get in, it was very hard,’’ she said.

‘‘You learn specific things — how to read a race, how to speak and present your self, and how to ride.’’

In addition to training with Racing Victoria — she’ll spend three days each month in Melbourne training — Hope will also continue her Year 10 studies at St Mary’s College this year.

As part of the traineeship, Hope will also complete a school-based apprenticeship in business, which aims to help participants develop options for a post-racing career.

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