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04 July 2024

Popular Under Starter’s Orders programme finale a winner with local pupils

A group of over 300 local primary schoolchildren was welcomed to Newmarket’s July racecourse last week for the finale of the popular Under Starter’s Order programme. 

The initiative, started in 2015, is an integral part of Racing to School’s educational programme and is made possible through the generous support of Newmarket Racecourses, Jockey Club Estates and Godolphin.

Racing to School’s Programme Manager Ollie McPhail said: “The raceday is a fantastic finale to the three-part programme local schools participate in and has given pupils the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained from their experiences at Dalham Hall Stud and the Horseracing Museum in a real life setting of a busy raceday. We are delighted to have completed a successful ninth year of this popular programme.”

Throughout the spring and summer terms, the pupils took part in two bespoke days of learning at the Newmarket Horseracing Museum and Godolphin’s Dalham Hall Stud. These activities take them on a journey of discovery through the history of the sport, with key themes being the science and culture that are the building blocks for a sustainable future for horseracing.

Last week’s finale day began with an educational tour of the National Stud, where pupils tested their learning and met star stallion Stradivarius, as well as plenty more future equine stars of the sport. Next stop was the racecourse to challenge their comprehension of a racecard with all its terms and data – a challenge for these inquiring minds. One of the highlights of the day was watching the first race of the day.

Rob Blanchard-Knapp, Assistant Headteacher and KS2 Lead at Laureate School said: “An excellent and well planned day that the children really enjoyed and learnt a lot from. Great organisation and wonderful staff. Thank you!” 

About Racing to School: 

Racing to School is an education charity established in 2001 that aims to inspire young minds through the provision of free, interactive, and healthy outdoor educational events for schools, staged at a variety of racing venues. The charity achieved a record year in 2023, reaching over 16,200 young people across Great Britain. With a busy programme of educational activities planned across the year, the charity plans to exceed this level of engagement in 2023, delivering memorable events for young people to encourage more active learning and a positive first experience of the sport of horseracing. 

The charity works with diverse groups of young, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, and over one quarter of its output is targeted to engage those from inner city, rural and deprived areas. Our staff has a range of industry backgrounds including former jockeys who have retrained to develop their second careers, and their experience is invaluable as the charity introduces horseracing as an accessible sport to young people.

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