Caulfield Cup winner’s daughter among 11 new apprentices

Sage Duric, daughter of Caulfield Cup winner Vlad, will realise a dream and embark on her own career in the saddle.

Duric, one of 11 successful candidates, including a single-season record 10 women, is set to join the elite Racing Victoria Apprentice Jockey Training Program.

Hong Kong expat Chris Pang is the male in the class of 2024 recognised at The Valley on Monday night.

Eleven is the highest intake since 13 were inducted in 2015.

Each year, about 10 jockeys retire or move interstate in search of more opportunity.

The previous single-season record for female inductees was seven 2022.

A combination of weight and lifestyle choices, fewer being boys enrolled in pony club and equestrian pursuits, has led to an avalanche of accomplished female riders.

“You look at the ranks, it used to be majority boys, it’s really nice to see girls coming through and they’re obviously taking over, it’s really nice to see,” Duric said.

The Victorian apprentice intake the past five years has been 70 per cent female to male.

For Duric a career in the saddle was the only thing she wanted — despite the efforts of parents Vlad and Storm to steer her in another direction.

“Once you get hooked you can’t really steer away from it,” Duric said.

“You get the racing bug and it’s very hard to get rid of it.”

Despite the elite racing pedigree, Duric, who missed out on apprentice school selection last year, is determined to make her own mark.

“Being knocked back was a bit of a blessing, I wasn’t quite ready,” Duric said.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself, I’m quite a perfectionist, I want to do things correctly, I try not to think about (father-daughter pressure) but I know it’s there.

“I’ll keep focusing on me, putting my head down and whatever happens.”

Duric has ridden trackwork the past three years, eight months in Singapore then Pakenham for Julien Welsh and Phillip Stokes.

“I was very green when I came to Phil’s, I couldn’t really hold a horse,” Duric said.

“He’s been the reason for me getting in the second time.

“He’s really firm but fair and he gives you a really good go.”

The new apprentices learn equine welfare, performance analysis, wellbeing, nutrition, media, finance and recovery in the RV program under the guidance of coaches Darren Gauci and Alf Matthews.

RV Apprentice Jockey Training Program 2024 intake: Brittany Button (Gerald Egan), Nadia Daniels (Pat Carey), Sage Duric (Phillip Stokes), Olivia East (Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr), Stephanie Hateley (Anthony and Sam Freedman), Samantha Kennedy-Roessling (Matt Laurie), Ruby Lamont (Michael Kent), Eliza Lloyd (Luke Oliver), Chris Pang (Leon and Troy Corstens), Hayley Spitse (Ben, JD and Will Hayes) and Zoe Waller (Julien Welsh).

Originally published as Sage Duric, daughter of Caulfield Cup winner Vlad, among 11 inductees in Racing Victoria’s elite apprentice school