Ballarat ballerina swaps the stage for a saddle

BALLARAT teenager Lucinda Doodt has swapped the stage for the saddle to pursue a career as an apprentice jockey. 

The former highland dancer and ballerina has successfully nabbed a spot in the Racing Victoria Apprentice Jockey Trainee Program – one of five girls in the state to do so. 

Nine positions were offered in the 2014 round. 

Two years ago, the former Damascus College student missed out on being selected for the program. 

“I’m thankful that I got the opportunity to do something like this early on in my career,” Lucinda said. 

“Ever since I had my first jump out, I knew this was something I wanted to do.” 

The four-year program will see Lucinda, 16, work under her master, Ballarat horse trainer Mark Lewis, at Caerau Park.

The teen has also worked alongside respected horse trainers Graeme Hicks and Darren Weir. 

“I’m on trial for six months before I can ride in an actual race,” she said. 

“I’m doing some track work now for Darren Weir. But I’d love to do some race work in the future.” 

When Lucinda was three years old, she took up the hobbies of horse riding and dancing. 

But after 12 years working towards both goals, Lucinda realised she had to choose one. 

“I realised there wasn’t anything I could work towards with dancing,” Lucinda said. 

“I was doing five hours of ballet, pointe, contemporary and hip hop each week, but it became too much.” 

Lucinda said she would continue ballet and pointe, just to improve her riding. 

In 2007, Lucinda received the state title for highland dancing in the 12 to 14 year age category. 

In 2011-12 she won the under-16 title and last year was named the adult champion.

As for goals, Lucinda has her sights set on the top. 

“I’d definitely like to win a Melbourne Cup, but isn’t that every jockey’s dream?” she said.

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