If you’re out and about at the races this week, look out for the activities and events celebrating the people behind the scenes in racing – the racing staff.
Now in its third year, Racing Staff Week runs from Saturday 30th June until Saturday 7th July 2018. Kindly sponsored by Betfair, the campaign aims to bring the racing industry together to inform the racegoing public and supporters about the passion, skill and dedication of those working behind the scenes to make racing happen.
At every one of the 41 meetings during the week, the vital roles of stud, stable and racecourse staff will be celebrated through the airing of a special Racing Staff Week film, use of #racingstaffweek on social media, racecard adverts and a series of specially named races. Furthermore, individual courses are offering excellent prizes and gifts to staff throughout the week to show their appreciation for their work.
Jockey Club Racecourses have coincided the launch of their free meal provision for racing staff with the start of Racing Staff Week on Saturday 30th June, an initiative which applies to all 348 fixtures held at their 15 courses annually, estimated to result in the provision of around 25,000 meals per year. They will also provide free tea, coffee and water and have standardised the cost of additional food across all staff restaurants within the group to ensure that pricing is consistent and affordable.
Special initiatives in the North include free ice cream for all stable staff at York, with Cartmel continuing the sweet theme by giving free sticky toffee puddings to all stable staff to take home on the day. Both courses will also be awarding luxury hampers to the groom leading up the winner of each race. York Racecourse will also continue their £10 food voucher for all racing staff, which applies to all 18 of their racedays throughout the year and is sponsored by Al Basti Equiworld.
Increased Best Turned Out prizes will be provided at Chester, Pontefract, Bangor on Dee and Beverley during the week, with the latter course also giving commemorative mugs and tins of locally produced biscuits to all staff on the day. In addition to their Best Turned Out prizes, Chester and Bangor on Dee have confirmed that their current offering of complimentary meals and refreshments to all staff will continue into 2019. Stratford will also be giving free food to all staff on their raceday that week, as will Chelmsford and Hamilton Park who provide free meals at all of their meetings.
Hamilton Park racecourse have kindly agreed to host a Racing Welfare Barbeque and Tug O’War social event for all racing staff on Monday 2nd July. Sulekha Varma, Racing Manager and Clerk of the Course, said: “We have, for many years, offered complimentary meals to all Stable Staff who bring runners to our track on every raceday. However, to celebrate Racing Staff Week, we will be going a bit further by hosting a Stable Staff Barbeque and Tug O’War Competition with the support of Racing Welfare. We hope to see plenty of racing staff from Scottish yards and also those who are staying overnight as part of our two-day fixture join in an evening of fun to celebrate the talented and dedicated people involved in racing”.
All Arena Racing Company racecourses are holding a free prize draw in the stable staff canteen to win a chocolate hamper, which will include a voucher for raceday hospitality at that specific racecourse. ARC courses holding meetings during the week include Doncaster, Lingfield, Newcastle, Windsor, Uttoxeter, Wolverhampton, Brighton, Chepstow, Bath, Worcester and Yarmouth.
Newton Abbot and Doncaster are the two host courses for the stable staff charity races on Friday 6th July, the Betfair Racing Staff Week Cup and the Betfair Clock Tower Cup. In addition to the race, Doncaster is also kindly hosting a charity lunch in aid of Racing Welfare again this year.
Sam Cone, PR & Communications Manager for ARC, said: “We’re really pleased to support Racing Staff Week and Racing Welfare who do such great work to support everyone in racing’s workforce. The Clock Tower Cup at Doncaster is a highlight of the week, but we’ll be promoting Racing Welfare’s tremendous work across all fourteen of our fixtures over the next week.”
A complete list of racecourse initiatives is available at www.racingstaffweek.com and is being updated and added to on a daily basis.
Pontefract Racecourse have incorporated a Racing Welfare ‘Lifetime in Racing’ award race into their card on Monday 2nd July. The race will recognise the career of Alan Hogg who has worked for Mr & Mrs Peacock at Manor Farm, Middleham since 1965. Alan initially worked on both the farm and with the horses before being promoted to Head Stud Groom in 1978, a position he has remained in ever since and has been responsible for raising a number of top horses, including English and Irish 2000 Guineas winner Tirol.
The Professional Jockeys Association will be releasing their newsletter to coincide with the start of the week, outlining details of Racing Staff Week to encourage Jockeys to engage with activities. The British Racing School and Northern Racing College will be publishing success stories from previous students to champion the achievements of those who have graduated from their ranks and gone on to make a significant impact within the industry.
Furthermore, the Racegoers Club will be engaging their members to assist with exit collections in aid of Racing Welfare throughout the week, and will also present the charity with a donation cheque for £500 at Stratford racecourse on Tuesday 2nd July.
The Racehorse Owners Association are again generously contributing £100 to up to 30 racing yards across the country towards a yard BBQ or social event for staff and owners during Racing Staff Week, providing an valuable opportunity for owners to get to know the staff that look after their horses better and for trainers to thank the staff for their hard work.
ROA Chief Executive Charlie Liverton said “The ROA is delighted to be supporting 30 staff and owner BBQ and social events around the country during Racing Staff Week once again this year and we very much hope that these informal events will prove to be popular once again. Owners are the first to recognise and support the passion, commitment and skill of racing staff who ensure that their horses are well-cared for during their racing careers.”
The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association are running a themed photo competition throughout the week, with stud staff asked to submit images to the TBA which, with permission, they will post social media to win cash prizes. Claire Sheppard, TBA Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to support and be involved in Racing Staff Week which not only recognises the efforts of staff in the racing industry but also those dedicated teams on stud farms across the country. This year the TBA is running a photography competition exclusively for stud staff to showcase not only the individuals, but also teams and stud farms that work tirelessly in their pursuit of thoroughbred breeding. The competition has some great cash prizes and the winning images will also be exhibited at the TBA’s Annual Awards Evening next month.”
The British Horseracing Authority and Careers in Racing will be hiding 13 ‘golden tickets’ around racecourses and training centres for lucky members of staff to find across the course of Racing Staff Week. The ticket will entitle them to a £100 voucher for a choice of high street retailers. The vouchers can be redeemed by sending back the winning ticket to the BHA with the winner’s name, address, employer, and which voucher they would like.
The National Association of Racing Staff is also offering fantastic prizes for racing staff with a daily social media quiz to win a £100 holiday voucher, which can be entered via their Facebook page. NARS are also holding a Grand Prize draw in their final quiz of the week on 7th July 2018, the winner of which will receive £1000 in travel vouchers. The competition is open to all racing staff in the UK.
The National Trainers Federation will be looking to encourage their members to post team photos on social media during the week, using #racingstaffweek. The NTF also recently subsidised Racing Welfare’s Mental Health First Aid Training day in Lambourn, run in partnership with the TBA. The half day training session gave racing staff and trainers the opportunity to attend to help their knowledge of mental health issues and learn how to help others who may confide in them.
Dawn Goodfellow, Racing Welfare’s Chief Executive, said: “When we started Racing Staff Week three years ago, our initial aim was to raise awareness about the contribution of racing staff and to highlight the support services available to them through Racing Welfare. We are very proud to now be at the stage where its legacy includes initiatives which impact on the lives of racing staff all year round. The speed with which it has grown has almost taken us by surprise and its success is very much down to the partnerships we have developed with racing’s stakeholders, along with all of the racecourses who host and support activities throughout the week.”
Karen can usually be found glued to her computer or at the stables. Having edited several national magazines she co-founded Eclipse Magazine in 2008 after realising that many of her friends were nervous about going racing due to lack of information – what to wear, how to bet etc.
She absolutely loves her job (how many people can say that?!) and is truly grateful to all supporters of and contributors to Eclipse Magazine.
If you are reading this she would like to say THANK YOU! (And please spread the word about Eclipse…!!)