Des O’Keeffe Retires, Honoured with His Jockey Welfare Advocacy

VICTORIA, Australia – Des O’Keeffe has stepped down from the board of the Australian Jockeys’ Association (AJA). This development took place last week, ending an era involving the main advocate for the Australian riders’ conditions. At a national and Victorian level, O’Keeffe devoted his time fighting for jockey’s improved safety. Additionally, for 15 years, he championed the Australian horsemen’s right to better pay and riding conditions.

 Before O’Keeffe moved to a federal position, he served as the Victorian Jockeys’ Association’s (VJA) chief executive. His decision to retire concludes an illustrious career in the Australian horse racing industry, spanning over 35 years. Based on the report posted online by horse racing news and information website, Racenet, O’Keeffe was proud of the role he held in the AJA. The now-retired jockeys’ proponent pointed out that, when people engage in an undertaking, their objective is to leave something or an organisation in a better condition than when they joined it.

O’Keeffe recited the accomplishments he said he is proud of during his time at the AJA. He remarked that his contributions for the jockeys include their heightened safety levels overall and a better level of welfare of rider wellbeing support nationally. Additionally, O’Keeffe relayed that he is satisfied with the better level of respect jockeys receive now than in the past. The improved support level for injured horse riders and the deceased jockeys’ families are also among his contributions that he said makes him feel pleased.

After O’Keeffe decided to step down, he jokingly referred to himself as a “man of leisure.” He cited that he would go on vacation. O’Keeffe, nevertheless, stays as a non-executive component of the VJA’s board. If necessary, he will be available to dispense advice. Moreover, O’Keeffe shared that he is truly a strong supporter of fresh targets, ideas, directions, and faces. He remarked that he does not have any plans at this point following his retirement. The former AJA board member affirmed that he is truly keen on taking a hiatus and stepping away to permit other people to perform their functions.

In his teenage years, O’Keeffe commenced going to horse races as a punter. Then, he got a job with the Victoria Racing Club. This event took place when the Flemington organisation administered horse racing in the state. The 63-year-old horse racing enthusiast transferred to work with Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse trainer John Meagher. Then, O’Keeffe branched into rider management.

The champion of the Australian jockeys’ conditions relayed that he felt pleased to hand over the reins to Craig Staples. He is the Western Australia-based horseman who is now the head of the national jockeys’ group. O’Keeffe remarked that the AJA board and Staples possess the unanimous support of riders all over Australia. He said that such unity was the backbone of the developments in the national horsemen’s conditions.

O’Keeffe remarked that he felt pleased about the Australian jockeys and the groups representing them for having a genuine concord of purpose. Additionally, he cited that it is satisfying for these bodies to be instrumental in plenty of the authentic results delivered. O’Keeffe pointed out that such harmony translates to a truly robust voice for the advancement of the Australian jockeys’ careers.

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