Apprentice jockey dies after fall at Melbourne racecourse

Victoria Claridge's death stunned the racing community.

Victoria Claridge's death stunned the racing community. Photo: Facebook

Worksafe is investigating the tragic death of a 22-year-old apprentice jockey after she died in a fall during pre-dawn training at a racecourse in Melbourne.

The young rider from Clyde, named as Mikaela Claridge, fell during trackwork at the Cranbourne Training Centre training in Melbourne’s south-east about 4.35am on Friday.

Racing Victoria issued a statement at 2.30pm saying Claridge was dislodged from her horse while riding on sand trails on the southern side of the complex. An on-course paramedic attended but she could not be saved.

Her death is not being treated as suspicious and no other riders were injured.

“Racing Victoria, the Victorian Jockeys Association and the Cranbourne Turf Club are offering assistance to the family and local racing community at this tragic time.”

Track work at Cranbourne was abandoned for the day after Claridge’s fall. Racing Victoria also announced later it had called of Friday’s race meeting at nearby Pakenham, following discussions with the Victorian Jockeys Association.

Victoria Police and WorkSafe remained at the Cranbourne training centre throughout Friday, investigating the circumstances of the accident.

Cranbourne Turf Club Chief Executive Neil Bainbridge described Claridge’s death as a “tragic accident”.

“This was a tragic accident and one that has deeply saddened all at the Cranbourne Turf Club and our local racing community.

“WorkSafe have commenced an investigation into the incident and the Club will afford them every support in doing so.

“She was a popular member of the Cranbourne racing community and will be sadly missed.”

In 2015, Claridge was inducted into Racing Victoria’s Apprentice Jockey Training Program at age 18 and worked with trainer Allan Clarke at Hamilton.

A back injury meant she put her riding career on hold for few years, during which time she completed a Bachelor of Primary Education.


Claridge got married at the Echuca Racing Club only five months ago. Photo: Facebook

Claridge returned to the saddle, riding trackwork, in 2017, having moved to Echuca under the tutelage of trainers Donna Gaskin and Mick Cornish.

She made her race-riding debut at Wangaratta in August last year aboard King’s Hand, finishing second. She celebrated her maiden victory on the same horse at Echuca on September 6.

She transferred her apprenticeship to trainer Ken Keys at Cranbourne earlier this year where she went on to win another 28 races during her short riding career, the most recent at Sale on July 11.

-with AAP

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