What are apprentice and conditional jockeys?
In Britain, apprentice and conditional jockeys are relatively young, inexperienced jockeys who, because of their lack of inexperience, can ‘claim’ a weight allowance when riding against fully licensed, professional jockeys. The terms ‘apprentice’ and ‘conditional’ are simply used to differentiate between such jockeys who ride on the Flat or under National Hunt Rules, although the weight allowances for each type of jockey vary slightly.
An apprentice jockey can claim 7lb until he or she has won 20 races, 5lb until he or she has won 40 races and 3lb until he or she has won 95 races. A conditional jockey can also claim 7lb until he or she has won 20 races and 5lb until he or she has won 40 races, but 3lb only until he or she has won 75 races. Very inexperienced conditional jockeys, who have won less than five races, can also claim an additional 3lb when riding for their employing trainer. Apprentice and conditional jockeys must be at least 16 years of age and eligibility for either type of licence expires when they turn 26 years of age or, of course, when they have won the requisite number of races.