The second running of the Dubai Future Champions Education Week proved to be a big success as 147 Year Eight pupils from Newmarket Academy participated in a series of events culminating in a day’s racing on Friday 9th October, the first day of the inaugural Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse.
The programme aimed to engage children with the unique heritage of their local area and raise their employment aspirations as well as introduce them to the variety of employment opportunities offered by the racing industry. This initiative was made possible by the generous support of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Newmarket Racecourses.
Newmarket’s main racing bodies came out in force to support the project, including the National Horseracing Museum, the National Stud, Tattersalls, TOPSPEC and the Newmarket Equine Hospital. This year also saw Rossdales Veterinary Practice and the British Racing School involved for the first time.
The education programme began with a trip to the National Horseracing Museum where both the history of horseracing as well as the town of Newmarket was explored through the identification of famous landmarks. Breeding knowledge was then imparted during a guided tour of the National Stud.
Biology and science information was then imparted by vets from the Newmarket Equine Hospital and Rossdales before the students got an opportunity to preview the Dubai Future Champions Festival’s Race For Excellence exhibition showcasing the shared development story of Dubai and its horseracing heritage.
World-renowned bloodstock auctioneers Tattersalls hosted the students on the third day of the programme, Thursday, 8th October, which also happened to be the final day of Europe’s Premier Yearling Sale. So pupils were particularly privileged in seeing some of the very best produce of the global thoroughbred breeding industry come under the hammer and fetch prices of up to £840,000.
The week concluded with a trip to the Rowley Mile Racecourse for a fantastic day’s racing, allowing the students to witness the programme’s four-legged subjects in action and marvel at the ability of Minding, the impressive winner of the feature race, the £533,750 Dubai Fillies’ Mile.
Amy Starkey, Regional Director, Jockey Club Racecourses East Region, said: “It was fantastic to see Dubai Future Champions Education Week return again this year with just under 150 students attending five days of activities. The students were all very enthusiastic to learn what their local area has to offer both now and in the future and we feel it is vital for them to have an insight into this part of their community.
“I am very grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the rest of the stakeholders involved for helping us to make this possible and I look forward to working with all parties to develop the week even further next year.”
Nick Froy, Head of School at Newmarket Academy, said: “The students of the Academy know that the week of learning supported by the racing community is unique. The students were able to see and understand the whole racing industry and understand the myriad of opportunities that are on offer. It will unquestionably broaden and raise their aspirations.
“I am incredibly grateful for the support, generosity and commitment of the entire racing community to make this amazing and incredibly valuable learning opportunity possible for all of the students at the Academy.”
Chris Garibaldi, National Horseracing Museum, said: “Dubai Future Champions Education Week is the perfect opportunity for The National Horseracing Museum to share racing’s rich heritage with future generations. Newmarket holds an extraordinary place within the industry and within history which this project demonstrated.
“The museum activities provided a backdrop for students to understand the significance of their community and to encourage pride in it. We hope that by taking part in this project, the students will have had their eyes opened and are now looking to the future.”