Number of new British jockeys to be cut to focus on quality

Britain Horse Racing - Royal Ascot - Ascot Racecourse - 16/6/16 Ladies Day The Ribblesdale Stakes winner Even Song Reuters / Andrew Boyers

(Reuters) - British jockeys will face tougher entry criteria after the governing body announced a significant overhaul of its development and licensing programme to focus on quality rather than quantity.

A three-year review by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and other key stakeholders has concluded that the sport is spending considerable resources training jockeys who may not become successful.

"Currently 30 percent of licensing course attendees do not ride a winner," the BHA said in a statement.

The BHA added that from April 1 anyone applying to join a course for apprentice or conditional jockeys will have to undergo a pre-licence assessment.

Fewer training places will be available this year, with a reduction from 48 to 24 for apprentices and 40 to 16 for conditionals.

Nick Rust, the chief executive of the BHA, believes the new approach will also enable jockeys to be better equipped with the necessary technical skills in the early stages of their career.

"The changes announced today ensure that our jockeys will have access to significantly enhanced technical, personal and professional training," Rust said.

"A more efficient and extensive assessment process can help aspiring jockeys who have a genuine chance of success to receive the first class levels of support and guidance they require."

The Professional Jockeys' Association (PJA), National Trainers' Federation (NTF) and the Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme (JETS) were also actively involved in designing the new strategy.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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