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China’s first jockey training class was launched last week at a university in Hubai province.

Wuhan Commercial Service College will welcome its first students to the new horse racing training, which will be part of their degree, in the autumn.

The training will be run by the university alongside Wuhan Sports Association and Wuhan Jockey Club.

To be in the class potential jockeys must not weigh more than 50kg and be under 165cm tall.

The students will be taught horse care, jockey training and event planning.

Although China has an estimated 200 riding clubs, there is no formal jockey training in the country.

Organisers hope the new course will help ease the shortage of professionals in the horse race industry.

In November 2008 mainland China held its first commercial horse race in nearly 60 years.

Although legal in Hong Kong, horse racing and gambling was banned in mainland China since the communists came into power in 1949.

The races took place on 29 Novemeber at a newly built 30,000 seat track in Wuhan.