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EARS 2011 - The Report!
The European Association Of Racing Schools (EARS) Apprentice race was hosted this year by the Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE).
RACE is situated in Kildare, on the edge of the Curragh, which is great for the students, as they have an opportunity to ride on the Curragh during their training.
Four riders represented the UK. Two from The British Racing School, Thomas Brown (Andrew Balding), Noel Garbutt (Rae Guest), and two from The Northern Racing College, George Chaloner (Richard Fahey) and Jacob Butterfield (Brian Ellison). The riders all enjoyed the trip and although the closest place UK rider was Noel (6th), they all had a great educational experience. RACE did a fantastic job in entertaining the foreign riders over the four day visit. This included the BRS lads riding out on the Friday and Saturday morning for Paul Deegan and the NRC boys for Dermot Weld! All riders and coaches were also treated to a visit and a parade of the stallions at the Irish National Stud. The highlight of this had to be Invincible Spirit, who is the flagship of the national Stud and a Champion sire..
We all attended Super Saturday of which the best part had to be the dead heat of Duncan and Jukebox Jury in the Irish St Ledger, however; also on the card was the Group 1 National Stakes and the racecourse debut (and a winning one) of Born To Sea, who is a three parts brother to the great 'Sea The Stars'. Quite a treat to see and a master class of how to ride the Curragh in testing conditions from Johnny Murtagh!
On the Sunday the lads and coaches were treated to a lie in and breakfast at base camp (RACE). We all met up at the racecourse. The English boys walked the course before racing and then retired to relax in the familiar surroundings of the weighing room .In the race it's self which was a 7 furlong handicap all riders rode well and enjoyed (with out winning) their experience. One that will set them up well in their careers when they ride abroad again. On the evening of the race we were all treated to a celebration dinner and prize giving at a hotel in Kildare before a 3.15am alarm call to catch the 6.30am flight from Dublin to Stansted (just in time for 2nd lot!)