This week SA Horseracing took time out to find out more about Donald Geerthsen who is a second year Apprentice at the SA Jockey Academy. He has recently signed his racing papers and been granted his Apprentice licence to take on race rides.

How did you get involved in becoming an apprentice?
My Show Jumping Instructor Anton Hock encouraged me to apply to the SA Jockey Academy.

How long have you had aspirations to become a jockey?
I have always been interested in horse racing and after my Show Jumping Instructor encouraged me to I never looked back.

Is there any special traits especially or requirements one needs for the profession?
You need to be dedicated and have the courage to ride fast, strong horses.

How do you keep fit physically and mentally?
I go to track every morning and ride over 20 horses a morning and I attend gym three times a week.

Who, if anyone, has inspired you in racing?
Trainer Mr Humby has inspired me and always encourages me to do better. I have been riding for him at Ashburton track since my first day at track.

Who is your favourite jockey and why?
Warren Kennedy is my favourite jockey because he is proof that dedication and hard work pays off.

What are the qualities or attributes that an apprentice needs to have in order to be successful in this game?
You must be dedicated, punctual and always persevere.

What race do you aspire to win, both locally and nationally?
Dubai World Cup and the Vodacom Durban July.

Where is your favourite racetrack?
Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse is my favourite racetrack.

What would you like to see changed in racing?
For spectators to be allowed back at racecourses on race day.

Give us an example of what you have learnt about racing riding (or work riding) specific to your technique or weakness that you have worked on successfully?
I have learnt different ways in which to hold and handle different horses.

Where do you see yourself in the future in this racing industry?
Getting as many winners as possible and to travel as much as I can.

What do you think of the SA Jockey Academy and the work they do for you?
The SA Jockey Academy have provided me with the staff and facilities to help me reach my racing goals.

What advice would give someone keen in getting involved in becoming an apprentice?
To be dedicated and to ensure they keep fit and strong.

What other sports have you been involved in?
Show Jumping , I have achieved Gauteng School Regional Colours and Gauteng Provincial Colours for Show Jumping.


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