Ripon keen to keep up the interest of young people
On 27th August Ripon Racecourse held their first ‘Experience Day’, giving students the chance to go behind the scenes on a raceday at Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse. Aimed at 13-17 year olds, the idea of the initiative is to engage with a group that may find participation in racedays a little more difficult than other age ranges.
Jonathan Mullin, Marketing Manager at Ripon Racecourse said: “We wanted to do something to connect with the ‘inbetween’ age group which racing struggles to engage with. We put so much focus on getting younger children to enjoy racedays with so many activities on Family Days, which is great but we then lose them through their teenage years when they become too old for bouncy castles.”
The small group of Yorkshire-based youngsters arrived early in the morning for a tour of the racecourse, from the weighing room to the stableyard, with talks from the Head Groundsman and RaceTech. Through the afternoon they spent time with the Clerk of the Scales, Stewards, Starter, Judge, Clerk of the Course and Raceday Presenter, as well as having the opportunity to select the best turned-out horse and present the trophy for the penultimate race on the card.
“It is important to provide a path for those who take an interest in racing at a young age to develop that interest and hopefully our Experience Days can deliver that,” added Mullin.
“We offered out the opportunity on social media and had a higher number than expected apply. We only wanted a small group of four on our first Experience Day so that they would gain maximum benefit, but we will be hosting more next season. Following brilliant feedback we also have interest in work experience at the course, too.”
One of the participants mentioned her time with the judge as a highlight.
“It’s a great initiative to get young people involved. I’ve really enjoyed the day and it has been very interesting to experience some of the different roles. I particularly enjoyed watching a race with the Judge. The Judge’s role is so important and the race we watched in the Judge’s box was a very close photo finish,” said Charlie Lawson-Tancred.
Mya Hodgson, 14, already had a keen interest in the stars of the show. “I love horses and I ride a lot so it has been good to come and see a lot of different things today. I’m definitely interested in racing now and maybe even as a job when I’m older.”