Behind The Scenes at the British Racing School, Episode 1
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Behind The Scenes at the British Racing School, Episode 1

August 25, 2019


The British racing School in Newmarket is
responsible for nurturing the career of some of our industry’s greats including champion
jockeys, trainers, traveling head people, and of course the stable staff to look after
our thoroughbreds on a daily basis. Over the next few weeks, TDN has been granted
special access to the British Racing School and will be going behind the scenes, following
a group of students as they navigate their way through a nine-week program at the school. They’ll be learning everything from mucking-out
to riding-out, crockery and fitness. And this is the first episode in that journey. The British Racing School was set up in 1983
really to serve the training needs of the racing industry. So that is stable staff, jockeys, racehorse
trainers, racing secretaries, groundsmen, management training. In the years since 1983, really the menu of
training offers has expanded quite substantially. We also do quite a bit of international training,
and also pony racing, actually. At the moment you’re following course 333. You’ll note we’ve had quite a few of these
courses over the years since we’ve been running them. And this is a nine-week course. We run a variety of course lengths, mainly
nine and fourteen weeks. So, nine weeks for those who can ride to a
reasonable standard and probably have some experience of working in a racing yard; holidays,
weekends and that sort of thing. The course is very much designed on providing
them with what they need to go from here into a job in a racing yard. We’re very, very fixed on what follows. It’s not what happens here that’s the most
important part. It’s what follows. So we’re providing them with the level of
training and experience and knowledge they need to go into what, for most of them, it’s
their first job in racing. We have a comprehensive selection process. Generally, they apply online. We then invite them to an interview, and that’s
on interview day where they have a talk, they have the reality of working in racing
explained to them. Early starts, late finishes, all weathers. They then do an assessment of English and
maths. They then do a fitness assessment. And then we interview them, and at the end
of that we decide whether we accept them, whether it’s for a nine week course, a fourteen
week course, or whether perhaps they need a bit more experience or improve their fitness
before coming back to start a course with us. Well, I came here myself on course 254 about
eight, nine years ago. I’ve ridden racehorses before then, it was
always my dream to be in racing. I then was very lucky and worked for Sir Michael
Stoute in Newmarket for several years and had numerous great experiences. I was very lucky. I then moved back up north where I’m from
to get my apprentice jockeys license. And it was from then that I decided to get
into teaching, and I taught children how to ride back home. And then it was always my dream to come back
here and teach people the way that I was taught in the profession. So they all seem to have quite good experience
with horses. They all show good dedication at the moment,
they’re all quite keen and enthusiastic to learn. I know one, Ethan, is riding for Richard Fahey
at the moment, he’s a very good trainer. So they’ve all come in with different experiences. One, George, has done a lot of BSJ showjumping. So there is varied experiences among the group,
but hopefully it all should go well. Week one, there’s quite a lot for them to
take on, a new environment, new surroundings. So it’s the basic horse care: mucking out
straw, mucking out shavings, tacking up, understanding how we look after the horse at evening stables. And they’ll also show horses, so that will
be in a racing yard if the owners or the head lad or the trainer wishes to go ‘round the
yard and look at the horses, they’ll stand the horse up professionally. The riding is quite basic in week one. So we’ll just do walking and trotting, so
I can establish the ability of the riders, where they’re currently up to, and again,
constantly working on fitness and position. It’s very rewarding job. We all know there’s a stable staff crisis
in the racing industry, so it’s very rewarding to be able to be part of that, and help young
people come through the industry, and ultimately, fulfill their potential and live the dream.

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