20th September 2013

The Betfair Newmarket Open Day: one day, a thousand stories

My name is Nick Patton and I am the Manager of the Newmarket Training Grounds for Jockey Club Estates.

Most mornings you will find me out on the training grounds early to see horses exercising. It gives me a chance to catch up with trainers, owners and the people who use our facilities on a daily basis. They are our customers, but in reality we all play our part in making sure that Newmarket continues to be a world leader in the breeding, training and care of the thoroughbred.

Newmarket is not only the historic home of racing, but it also is at the forefront of training centres and there is no better way to explain that than to show someone. Occasionally I take colleagues and visitors out with me in the mornings. If they look a bit bleary-eyed when I pick them up, they are not like that for long. Whether you are on Warren Hill or on the historic turf Racecourse side, the energy of what is happening around you soon gets to you.

Come this Sunday morning, it won’t just be me and a few visitors on the gallops.  The Betfair Newmarket Open Day will bring the public to Warren Hill to see horses cantering up one of the most iconic hills in racing. Visitors will have a chance to hear trainers providing commentaries about the horses as they canter. This is the first event in a day that will see trainers across the town opening up their yards for the public to visit, see the horses and most importantly find out more about our sport.

This is just part of what will be available for people to see on the day, there is also the chance to visit the National Stud, The Jockey Club Rooms, Newmarket Equine Hospital, Tattersalls, the British Racing School and the National Horseracing Museum. It doesn’t matter what area of the sport you are interested in. The great thing about Newmarket is that in one day you can get an insight into breeding, veterinary care, the long history of the sport, what it takes to be a jockey, trainer, work rider or indeed how easy it is become an owner.

The Open Day will raise significant amounts for its chosen charities and that is important. But equally and perhaps more importantly, it is about our sport welcoming existing fans and new ones too. Scott Bowers in his blog entry talked about how racing needs to help racegoers understand racing as a sport rather than just a day out.

For me, this is what the Open Day is about, opening up our sport and showing people what happens in Newmarket on a daily basis. If it inspires one family to come back to Newmarket Racecourse for one of the autumn fixtures, one person think that they will take a share in a horse or one young person to see that this is an industry that could hold a future career for them, then for me, all the hard work will be worth it.

If you are coming on Sunday, we hope you have a great time. If you aren’t, maybe the video above might convince you to.

Find out more at the Betfair Newmarket Open Day website.