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27 November 2019

Sunflower Lawn launched at Ascot Racecourse

Ascot welcomed charities and community initiatives to exhibit at the racecourse last weekend, including the Animal Health Trust, Racing Welfare, Go Racing Green and Racing Together and Racing to School. Racegoers were keen to find out more about how racing helps its communities – human and equine – and to buy Christmas cards and hats in support of the causes.

A new Sunflower Lawn was available at the racecourse, which is a quiet space for racegoers who might be struggling with hidden disabilities and anxiety disorders. The recently-launched sunflower lanyard scheme, in use at Sainsbury’s and some London airports, allows racegoers to self-identify as having hidden disabilities, so that specially trained members of raceday staff can be prepared to offer additional help should they need it; in simple terms it’s about asking “How may I help you?” when approached. Find out more about the scheme on the RCA website here.

Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Communications at Ascot Racecourse, said: ” This quiet, alcohol-free space is located on the Grundy & Bustino Lawn. The initiative comes about as a result of our partnership with Debbie Matthews from Go Racing Green. Go Racing Green, along with five racing charities (Animal Health Trust, The Injured Jockeys Fund, Racing Together, Racing Welfare and Retraining of Racehorses) also have stalls on site this weekend to raise awareness of their work.”

Debbie Matthews of the #GoRacingGreen initiative which supports those with hidden disabilities and anxiety disorders who want to enjoy racing. Debbie works with racecourses to make them more welcoming for these groups.

It was Ascot’s inaugural Discover Racehorse Ownership Weekend, where no fewer than 20 syndicates had stalls on site over the two-day meeting. A Partnership Parade took place on Saturday morning featuring horses from Middleham Park Racing, Heart of the South Racing, Kim Bailey Racing, BG Racing Syndicates, Dare to Dream, Martin Keighley Racing Partnerships and Brian Meehan/ Manton TB’s. Racegoers were able to meet Opening Batsman and Rock on Ruby in the Meet the Racehorse zone.

Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, said: “Syndicates are very important to the health of British racing, not just today but in the future. The benefits that shared ownership bring to the industry are well known, and as an industry, understanding how we can meet the expectations of syndicate members is crucial. Importantly, we now know from our research that if the syndicate experience is positive, then these tentative steps normally result in owners owning more shares in more horses.”

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