Clovis Metcalfe, head of both the Betting, Gaming, and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) and the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), is urging newly graduating trainers to always stay on the right side of the law, as the sport's integrity must be protected for the horse racing sector to survive.
With the image of Jamaica's horse racing industry not always being the cleanest, Metcalfe advised newly trained trainers to always follow the regulations or face prosecution by the JRC.
"I am told that you are the first set of trainees to receive your own copy of the JRC rules of racing as part of the course material from day one," Metcalfe told The Supreme Racing Guide.
"This was a deliberate change to ensure that you are better prepared than former graduates. Over the past year, you should have become familiar with the rules, and I know the stewards have spent much time going over them with you, so Class of 2023, play by the rules," Metcalfe said.
One woman, Lydia Anglin, was among 39 assistant trainers who graduated from the 2023 JRC's Trainers Training programme and will now join the conditioning ranks at Caymanas Parks.
Of the 39 graduates, 37 were present to collect their diplomas at the graduation ceremony, which was held at the Caymanas Golf Club in St Catherine on Friday, May 12.
The training programme which was carried out in two parts, got under way on May 17, 2022. Classes were held on Mondays and Thursdays between the hours of 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm at the Veterinary Department/Salix Centre.
While the graduates have fulfilled their commitment to become trainers, Metcalfe believes that their contribution to the racing product will demand much more.
"You will need to seek avenues for attracting new owners and more horses to racing in what is already a competitive environment. What a stroke of timing, or should we say strategy, as this cohort is set to graduate three weeks before the GCT on the importation stock is to be removed by the government. So, Class of 2023, go buy some horses and find some owners who will.
"You need to operate as professionals and manage your people, horses, and business properly. Respect and value your owner's investment in you; they have choices, and now they will have even more choices, so treat them well," Metcalfe ended.
Michael Cain Jr, the salutatorian, received two of the four honours awarded, accepting the Chairman's Award for the best overall pupils, as well as the Dr St Aubyn Bartlett Award for best theoretical performance, while Gregg Fennell received the Dr Sophia Ramlal Award for best practical performance, and Orlaldo Chin received the Christopher Armond Award for horsemanship. The valedictorian was Barrington Bernard.
The guest speaker at the ceremony was state minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sports Alando Terrelonge, who offered some words of encouragement.
"Over the course of the last six months, this comprehensive programme has provided you with invaluable knowledge and skills in equine biology, welfare, athletic training, media relations, and sportsmanship. You have all demonstrated unwavering dedication, resilience, and a deep passion of the noble profession known as the 'king of sports', and no doubt you will become trainers to be lauded.
"As you stand at the beginning of a new chapter of your careers, I want to emphasise the importance of your role. You are not just trainers; you are, in fact, guardians of these magnificent creatures, who possess immense power. It is your responsibility, and that extends far beyond the racing track. You are stewards of the well-being and welfare of these equine athletes to ensure good health, safety, and their overall well-being every step of the way," Terrelonge said.
Also speaking at the ceremony were Solomon Sharpe, chairman of Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited; Howard Hamilton, president of TOBA; Patrick Smelie, president of the United Trainers Racehorse Association of Jamaica; and Welsh Soutar, representing the Jamaica Trainers' Association.
These are the 39 graduates: Andre Adams (honours); Lydia Anglin; Howard Bailey; Barrington Bernard (honours); Wayne Binns (honours); Captain Marlon Brown (honours); Ricardo Brown; Michael Cain Jr (honours); Oraldo Chin; Donovan Clarke; Carlton Cunningham; Alfred Davidson; Donwell Dawes; Gregg Fennell; Lawrence Freemantle; Damon Gayle; Winston Griffiths; Alphanso Harris; Oral Hayden; Donovan Hutchinson; Patrick Jarrett; Orville Johnson; Rowan Mathie; Peter-John Parsard; Kenneth Palmer; Adrian Prince; Marlon Pusey; Davidan Robinson; Saqlain Roman; Lennis Shim; Michael Spencer; Paul Swaby (honours); Lesra Thompson; Khary Tucker; Paul Vaceannie; Nicholas Wehby; Courtney Williams; and Omar Williams.
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