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16 August 2022

A proud daughter of Yorkshire, former jockey-turned TV presenter Adele Mulrennan plots her path through racing and tells of her pride in its support of its own and generosity to wider society

I’m so lucky to have a job that I enjoy – in fact all of the jobs in racing that have led me to where I am today. I’ve always loved horses and as a child there was a riding school up the road from where we lived.  I started helping out there and began riding at the age of 13 and eventually got my first job with Sue and Harvey Smith.  I learnt so much from that great team, but I was too small for jump racing so moved to Richard Fahey’s at Malton where I took out my Flat licence.

Combining my role as a working mother

I really enjoyed my riding career but after the birth of my daughter Scarlett it quickly became clear that those days were behind me, and I combined motherhood with work at Dandy Nicholls, as well as taking a number of JETS courses (Jockeys Employment Training Scheme). I also became a hospitality host at Haydock racecourse.

This work opened doors for me at York racecourse when the opportunity of Raceday announcer for Go Racing In Yorkshire came up.  I jumped at the chance and have been proud to work across Yorkshire’s courses since 2016 and latterly working with the ITV team.

Yorkshire beacon concept is vital

I am passionate about racing and being a Yorkshire girl, born and bred, I love being involved in the industry in my home county. It’s great to see the Yorkshire Beacon pulling together all the charitable work that the Yorkshire racecourses carry out.  It is so varied, yet vital to the local communities.

As an industry, horseracing has always been very supportive of each other in times of need, both on a personal level and a professional one.  The close-knit environment of the Yorkshire weighing room, means that while it’s everyone for themselves once astride a horse, there are strong bonds when back on the ground, and it’s the same among the trainers.

If someone has a cause to champion, I’ve always found that the jockeys will get behind it.  A couple of years ago, my daughter Scarlett was asking me about homeless people when we were shopping in Harrogate.  She asked if we could do something to help so I got in touch with the charity Harrogate Homeless to see what was needed.  It struck me that jockeys probably have a lot of redundant wash bags as really, with the role of the valets, they only need to take their toiletries racing with them.  I worked with Go Racing In Yorkshire to get the jockeys to fill washbags with items required to make up a pack of food and essentials that the charity distributed to those in need.  The racecourses also got involved and donated products, it was only a small gesture, but it was meaningful and had an immediate impact.

Still possess my competitive spirit

I’ve contributed in other ways too and took part in the Racing Welfare boxing event.  I’ve always loved sport and boxing and racing is something I always watched with my Dad when I was a child growing up.  Instead of just shouting at the telly I thought I should put some gloves on and have a go myself!  Paul (Mulrennan, my husband) took part as well, although we didn’t fight each other!

I’ve also ridden in the Ladies’ charity race at Catterick at couple of times, raising money for Jack Berry House.  It was great to get the silks on again and out onto the track, all for a good cause too.

Racing’s generosity marks it out

We do support our own charities well and I think it is important to do so as Racing Welfare caters for everyone in the industry, doing great work for all those who are involved in racing.  In addition to that there is nearly always a charity holding a bucket collection as racegoers leave the day’s meeting.

I think we are seen as supportive of local causes as well; you often see social media requests for tickets to support charities online.  ITV is good at raising awareness of fundraising initiatives and will often give a shout out to those seeking sponsorship during the racing programmes. I don’t think you see that so much in other sports.

I would like to see more support of our equine heroes and the charities that support them.  New Beginnings was the charity of the week at the recent Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, sponsored by Sky Bet and while the team was unfortunately hit by Covid, limiting their attendance at the courses, the Sky Bet tipping initiative raised a good deal for them.

There are still lots of initiatives taking place this year, including the Sky Bet Ebor Festival Community Sweepstake, where Yorkshire-based charities and community groups have the opportunity to win £20,000 for their cause.  It’s wonderful that racing can have such a positive impact on charities.

Find out more about the Yorkshire Beacon Programme here.

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