Introduction to Racing Course a Success

27th Apr 2018 | News

One of the most commonly asked questions within racing is how do we get more people in to the sport? Last week, here at the BRS, we piloted a course titled an ‘Introduction to Racing’. The course aimed to offer people the chance to have a FREE, week long exposure to our amazing industry, with the hope to inspire them to take up the game as their full time career in the future.


Thirteen young people, all from different backgrounds and with different experiences of the horse world, became the guinea-pigs for the running of this new course. After arriving on Sunday evening, the course began in earnest on Monday, with the students getting to grips with the variety of job roles available to them in racing. Many were surprised to find out that the career path in racing does not end at jockey! Next came the hands on element, with their first taste of yard life being an evening stables demonstration followed by the chance for them to try it for themselves. Some took longer to sort their one horse out than others but all got there in the end – and too a high standard of care too.

Next morning came the chance for the students to explore a branch of racing that many of them did not know existed. A trip to the National Stud and an opportunity to see the facilities on offer gave those who were looking at the non-riding routes within racing an insight into a potential career path for them. Of course, a few cute and cheeky foals only added to the tour, as well as the chance to meet the National Stud’s sires: Gregorian, Time Test, Aclaim and Marcel. Later that day, the group had their first experience of what it is like to ride the extraordinary animals we work with every day. After a few tacking up mishaps – a common occurrence when you are inexperienced with racing tack – we were ready to embark on the indoor school. The riding sessions on the course, of which there were 3 during the week, proved the highlight for many.

Trips out were the theme of with the week, with the group having the chance to see sun soaked Newmarket in all its glory nearly every day. Tattersalls was the port of call for Tuesday evening, seeing the Breeze Up horses sell for vast amounts of money. Wednesday afternoon saw the group’s trip to the Rowley Mile for day 2 of the Craven Meeting. Before racing, Clerk of the Scales, Jeremy Lind, was kind enough to welcome the group into the weighing room for them to see and feel where the excitement and buzz begins, as well as how the official race day works with declarations and so forth. Friday morning saw the final trip to Trillium Place, home to trainer David Simcock. David’s wife, Jennie, gave the group the grand tour, with stable stars Lightning Spear and Sheikhzayedroad on show. Not only was this a tour, but a chance for Jennie to make the group aware of all the different roles within a racing yard from Groundskeeper through to Pupil Assistant – the cross section of jobs was much greater than the students first realised.

When on the yard at the BRS, the group enjoyed lectures on saddling up for racing, tacking up for exercise as well as a number of simulator sessions focusing on balance and technique. Both Julie Lingham and Kieran Kourdache, those running the course, were extremely impressed with the group’s attitude, horsemanship and professionalism during the week. Insightful questions were asked and help was given as and when needed. This high level of behaviour presented itself in the evenings too during fitness session – the group quickly realised that a high level of fitness is required to work with racehorses and they were put through their paces accordingly.

Overall, during the hottest week of the year so far the group did not melt under the pressure. Jam-packed and insightful were just some of the words used by the group who, despite being exhausted come Friday, raved about how good the week was. It was a huge success with many of the students now ready to move on to complete our Foundation Course and afterwards enjoy a long, successful career in racing we hope. If you feel that you might want to be in the next cohort for the Introduction to Racing Course, applications are open now for our July course, details of which can be found here: Getting a taste of racing is infectious – you will never look back!

Written by Kieran Kourdache, Recruitment Co-ordinator.