Supreme winner on the Red Rum lawn

21st July 2014

Horses, horses everywhere: Aintree’s secret life

My name is Carly Goodall and I am assistant to Andrew Tulloch, Regional Head of Racing North West and Clerk of the Course at Aintree Racecourse.While our big days mean that Aintree is known throughout the world, the coure has a whole other side to it that racing fans might not know about but we are very proud of.

The Aintree Equestrian Centre has become a really important part of the Aintree family since it opened in 2007 with the aim to bring an international standard equestrian facility to the region. While we only race nine days a year, horses are on site at Aintree most weeks of the year.

We are only a small team but with show jumping and dressage classes most weekends and mid-week and showing classes in the summer too, we are a busy one. Alongside these regular dressage and jumping shows, we host show jumping championships including the National Amateur & Veteran Championships in November which will have almost 500 horses staying on site.

The facilities for competitors are fantastic, with the same surface in the arena as was used at the Olympics, as well as stabling that is unmatched by most shows. We get a lot of comments about the facilities - mainly about the lack of mud! Most shows outside of the big indoor arenas like Olympia will have muddy bits, but Aintree is set up for equine athletes, with rubberised horse walkways and antislip surfaces in the stables. The competitors think they are in heaven and I am sure the horses love it too.

We work hard to bring the history of course alive for the competitors, because at the end of the day Aintree is a world-renowned racecourse. All the Supreme Champions have their photo taken on the Red Rum lawn with the great horse's statue and our National Show in July actually takes place on the racecourse itself.

Nine showing rings host 350 different classes, including a whole range for retrained racehorses, who regardless of whether they are flat or jumps will get to canter past the iconic winning post and Red Rum's final resting place.

One of these classes is the final of The Jockey Club Retraining of Racehorses Novice Thoroughbred Showing Series. There are always a few familiar names popping back who have run at Aintree in the past and it is wonderful to welcome them back.  This year we are thrilled to welcome Jenny Pitman to judge the class.

If you are around, come and visit one of our shows. They are free to the public and you may see a part of Aintree life you didn't expect.