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Fatherly advice for apprentices

SOME fatherly words of advice were imparted to the apprentice class of 2013 at yesterday’s graduation ceremony held in the Racehorse Owners Association room, Santa Rosa Park by chairman of the Apprentice Jockey School, Dr Jagdis Suratsingh.
“There are times you will fall,” Dr Suratsingh said. And quoting the late Nelson Mandela he added: “Mandela said, look how many times I fell, but I got back up.” This message did not have a double meaning (that you could fall from a horse), but was intended to point out that there will be challenges, and that the way forward is never easy.
“You have to take personal responsibility for your action,” he added.
Lecturing to his “sons,” Dr Suratsingh said: “I am master of my faith, and captain of my destiny. Nothing could stop you, except yourself, and your fate is in your hands. Once you have determination, you must not give up. Nothing could stop you, except yourself.”
David Latchman, former jockey and exercise rider on the North American circuit, and now one of the two tutors (the other being former jockey Raymond La Guerre) for the apprentices, advised them to look forward to each day as a new beginning. “Your goal must be to do better,” he said.
Dr Suratsingh praised former chairman Sharon Ferreira for the work she did in keeping the school on the right path. He also made honourable mention of the work of other members, Richard Jackson, David Loregnard, Selwyn Raymond, Hugh Henderson, and Dr Edward Commissiong.
Dr Commissiong, one of the five members of the Apprentice School’s board warned: “This is hard work, and discipline, and is something that you have to keep in the back of your mind. Right or wrong, there is someone up there, call him God. He is looking down. In your career there will be lots of people who will be asking you to do wrong things. Look for advice from your tutors, and how you dress is very important.”
And young apprentice Nigel Flavenney, who was suspended from the school on numerous occasions, opened up to his peers, stating he suspended himself, but used the suspensions as a motivation to get back on track. And board member Raymond endorsed the turnaround in Flavenney’s career, attributing it to hard work, stressing: “He has eight rides on the Boxing Day ten-race card, when there are three overseas riders.”
Twelve riders graduated from the school, but three of them, Shastri Singh, Romario Hernandez and Kiran Razack were not present. Those present were Dillon and Kerran Khelawan, Daniel Gopie, Shaun Samuel, David Butcher, Steve Jadoo, Brandon Pahal, David Blackman, and Nigel Flavenney.
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