The Victorian Thoroughbred Racing Industry is celebrating the success of apprentice jockey Jake Noonan at the 2009 Australian Training Awards.
Noonan was awarded the prestigious title of Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year at a gala dinner in Canberra hosted by Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Hon. Julia Gillard.
The Australian Training Awards are the peak national awards for vocational education and training, recognising innovation and excellence in the training sector.
Noonan, a Year 11 student at Padua College in Mornington, is the first member of the racing industry to be acknowledged in the awards which cover all industries nationwide.
The 16-year-old is currently enrolled in the Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey) at the Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) Apprentice Training Centre.
“I didn't expect to win the award, so it is a great thrill and honour,” Noonan said.
“When you get to a national level, the other nominees are so impressive and have achieved so much in such a short time which is why it was a surprise.
“Hopefully this award encourages more people to undertake school-based apprenticeships and importantly get involved in the racing industry.”
Noonan, who was first licensed to ride in March of this year, has ridden 23 winners to date including a treble at Tatura on 8 August.
Jake's father, leading trainer Tony Noonan, said his family is thrilled with the honour bestowed upon their son who is quickly forgoing a successful career as an apprentice jockey.
“This is one of the greatest thrills I've ever had,” Noonan said. “We're so proud of Jake.”