This week is Racing Staff Week – which runs from Saturday 1st July until Saturday 8th July 2017.
The week, sponsored by Betfair, aims to bring the racing industry together to inform and engage horseracing followers and supporters about the passion, skill and dedication required to work with racehorses.
At every one of the 41 race meetings during the week, the vital roles of the stud, stable and racecourse staff will be celebrated through the display of a special Racing Staff Week film, racecard adverts and many named races. Furthermore, tracks are offering excellent prizes and gifts to staff throughout the week to show their appreciation for their work.
Special initiatives include free ice cream for all stable staff at York and sticky toffee pudding to take home for all staff at Cartmel. Both courses will also be giving hampers to all winning grooms. Increased Best Turned Out prizes will be provided at Chester, Pontefract, Thirsk, Nottingham, Chelmsford and Newton Abbot during the week with the latter two courses also running a prize draw for staff in the canteen.Hamilton Park will be providing commemorative mugs to all staff, Newbury will be giving out free cupcakes to staff and Perth will be giving branded baseball caps to all winning grooms. A complete list of racecourse initiatives is available at www.racingstaffweek.com and is being updated and added to on a daily basis.
All Arena Racing Company Racecourses are holding a free prize draw in the stable staff canteen to win a hamper at each track; this includes Doncaster, Lingfield, Newcastle, Windsor, Uttoxeter, Wolverhampton, Brighton, Chepstow, Bath, Worcester and Yarmouth. Furthermore, Lingfield and Doncaster are the two host courses for the stable staff charity races, the Betfair Three Feathers Cup and the Betfair Clock Tower Cup.
Pontefract Racecourse have also incorporated a Racing Welfare ‘Lifetime in Racing’ award race into their card on Monday 3rd. The race will recognise the career of Roy Fowler who has worked in racing since 1964, initially as racing groom and head lad until becoming a jockey’s valet in the 1980s.
Jockey Club Racecourses will be providing all staff, including box drivers, with a ‘goodie bag’ for the journey home including fruit, a chocolate bar and water. Jockey Club racecourses will also be offering a minimum £50 Best Turned Out Award for every race on all courses during the week. At the Sandown Eclipse meeting, Coral have very generously provided £150 for all races on Coral-Eclipse Day bar the Coral-Eclipse itself which will have a £250 prize. The Jockey Club will also be recognising the contribution of racecourse staff by running competitions for all its full time and casual staff during the week too.
The Racehorse Owners Association are generously contributing £100 to up to 30 racing yards across the country towards a yard BBQ or social event during Racing Staff Week. In a survey carried out by the ROA last year, owners identified a rewarding element of owning a racehorse was knowing the member of stable staff that looks after their horse, and the ROA saw the Racing Staff Week BBQ initiative as a great opportunity for owners and staff to get together and for trainers to organise a social event to thank their staff for their hard work.
ROA Chief Executive Charlie Liverton said “The great care and effort given by staff looking after racehorses is very much appreciated by their owners. The ROA is delighted the barbeque initiative has proved so popular as it recognises these vital staff and gives owners an opportunity to socialise with them in a relaxed environment. Our thanks is extended to the 30 participating training yards and to Racing Welfare for coordinating both these and the regional events.”
In addition to the yard organised events across the country, the ROA have kindly donated £200 towards four Racing Welfare organised events for staff in Newmarket, Middleham, Malton and Lambourn, to which staff and owners are also invited. The Thoroughbred Breeders Association have also generously contributed towards the Racing Welfare regionally organised events and stud staff are invited to attend these events.
The British Horseracing Authority and Careers in Racing will be hiding 13 ‘golden tickets’ around racecourses and training centres for lucky racing staff to find across the course of Racing Staff Week. 12 will have a £100 voucher for a choice of high street retailers, whilst the 13th will be an invitation for two to the 2018 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards, nominations for which open on Saturday 8th July. 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.
Zoe Elliott, Careers Marketing & Recruitment Manager at the BHA, said: “All of the racing industry is coming together for Racing Staff Week and we thought golden tickets would be a fun and interactive way for BHA to show its appreciation for all the work that racing staff put in behind the scenes.”
The National Association of Stable Staff is also offering fantastic prizes for racing staff with a daily prize draw of a £150 worth of Red Letter vouchers which can be entered via their Facebook page. NASS are also holding a Grand Prize draw at the end of the week, on 8th July 2017, for £1000 in travel vouchers to the lucky winner. The competition is open to all racing staff in the UK.
George McGrath, NASS Chief Executive said “NASS welcome the Racing Welfare initiative of Racing Staff Week. This is a great opportunity for everybody associated with racing to show their appreciation for the work the staff do. Racing is a labour of love requiring the staff to work early mornings and late evenings. Racing staff week gives the owners and trainers a chance to say thank you to the staff and raises the public’s awareness of the skilled work we do.”
The National Trainers Federation is launching a £4,000 award for Racing Grooms in memory of the late racehorse trainer Toby Balding, who was dedicated to the support and development of young people in the horse racing industry. The annual award, which is funded by the National Trainers Federation Charitable Trust (NTFCT) from a donation made by the Swire Trust in memory of Toby Balding, will be presented to a member of stable staff who demonstrates a desire to further their career and to train for a higher level qualification or undertake personal development training.
Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive said “Last year the NTF enabled its members to say a big Thank You to all the dedicated people who care for the horses at the centre of our great sport. This year, to support Racing Welfare’s Racing Staff Week, we are creating a new way for aspirational racing staff to develop their career path. Toby Balding was a great supporter of anyone looking to make their way in horseracing so the annual award named after him offers an exciting opportunity for ambitious employees in British racing yards to widen their knowledge and train to acquire new skills. We would encourage all trainers to embrace this award by supporting those loyal members of their staff to apply and help them advance to a more senior role.”
Dawn Goodfellow, Racing Welfare Chief Executive, said: “We are thrilled at the great initiatives being run for Racing Staff throughout the week, both from racecourses and industry bodies. Racing Staff Week will not only create awareness among racegoers about the vital role of racing staff, but will also show staff, from across studs, stables and racecourses, how much their skill and dedication is appreciated.”