We are delighted to see so many NHC graduates have the opportunity to ride this year. In the Betfair Clock Tower Cup at Doncaster we have David Cottle, Sarah Jones, Katie Perkin, Shenelle Watson and Faye Bainbridge taking part and in the Racing Staff Week Cup at Newton Abbot we have Tom Ryall and Zack Sparrow, we wish them all the best of luck.
Racing Staff Week runs from Saturday 30th June until Saturday 7th July 2018. The week aims to bring the racing industry together to inform and engage horseracing followers and supporters about the passion and dedication of those who work to make racing happen.
This year will see the fourth renewal of the Betfair Clock Tower Cup, running over seven furlongs at Doncaster Racecourse on Friday 6th July. As in previous years, the race has attracted a maximum entry of 12 stable staff riders, all of whom have been nominated to ride by their respective trainers.
The Friday of Racing Staff Week provides a double-hit of racing action this year, with the inaugural running of the Racing Staff Week Cup at Newton Abbot, held over one mile and four furlongs and designed to give those from the jump yards of the South West and surrounding areas the opportunity to take part.
Winning riders will receive a beautiful, bespoke Gibson Saddlers race exercise saddle in the Betfair colours along with a trophy. All riders taking part will receive a medal, a Betfair Kit Bag and grooming kit as well as a Careers in Racing base layer and baseball cap. There will be a special prize for the rider in each race who raises the most sponsorship.
For many of those taking part, riding in the race means the fulfilment of a life’s ambition. Lyndsay Gallagher, who works for Barry Brennan commented “It’s taken me 16 years to have the opportunity to ride in a race and I’m so excited”. Tom Ryall agreed, saying “I think it’s every stable lad or lass’s aim to race ride and when I was asked if I’d like to take part I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Racing Welfare do a huge amount for racing staff so I’d like to support them and raise as much money as I can.” Laura Parker, who has been with Philip Hobbs for six years, reflected on her place in the Newton Abbot race by saying “The opportunity to ride around one of my favourite tracks in the Racing Staff Week Cup is hugely exciting.”
Danny Bembridge, who rides for Scott Dixon, is back for a second bite of the cherry having lined up in the race last year, and is very happy to have been given the opportunity again this year by his boss. For Christina Berry too, the event will mark a return to race-riding: “I’ve been lucky to ride as an amateur a few times before and the thrill and experience is something else.”
Already in possession of a Jockey Licence back in her native Czech Republic, Dominika Polichtova (representing Jamie Osborne), has set her sights on becoming an Apprentice in the UK and is looking forward to the experience riding in the race will give her. Rachel Taylor sees the race as an opportunity to gain valuable practice on the Doncaster turf, stating “My ambition is to get my amateur licence and ride a winner under Rules. The Clock Tower Cup is a great opportunity for myself and other people who work in racing to experience race riding at a Grade one racecourse.”
All riders are raising sponsorship money for Racing Welfare and see the race as a great opportunity to give something back to the charity, which supports anyone working within the British horseracing industry; including stable staff, stud staff and racecourse staff. Harley Cornock, who has worked for Martin Keighley for five years, commented “I want to ride in the charity race for Racing Welfare because I broke my leg last year and they helped to support me so I could return to work as quickly as possible.” Tom Wigglesworth seconded this statement, saying “It is a great opportunity to ride in a very competitive race for an incredibly important charity.”
Racing Welfare Chief Executive, Dawn Goodfellow comments: “We are exceptionally happy to be holding two stable staff races this year with the introduction of the Racing Staff Week Cup at Newton Abbot, giving twenty-four members of staff the chance to experience the thrill of riding on the track. We are extremely grateful to sponsors Betfair for their continued support, and to the owners and trainers who are giving their staff this excellent opportunity.”