- October 30, 2017
30th October 2017
A busy October with some fascinating work placements
Our student ambassador Pippa Glanville has been busy on her work placements taken within the racing industry. Here she talks about her days with BHA course inspector Richard Linley, Racetech and Jack Bevan Bookmakers. We will be launching our 2018 student ambassador initiative soon.
Richard Linley – BHA course inspector
Last week I was lucky enough to experience the end of the flat season at Ascot for Champions’ Day, and only a few days later I joined Richard Linley chief BHA course inspector at Cheltenham for their NH season opener.
I arrived early to walk the course with Richard, the Clerk of the Course Simon Claisse, the head grounds man Ben Hastie, as well as a few stewards.
The hard work on the course had already been done in the lead up to race day, but final checks are always required to ensure everything is in place for the race day to run smoothly.
Being located so close to Cheltenham, at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, I have had a lot of brilliant days out at Cheltenham, especially at The Festival.
However, I have never seen the racecourse so quiet; the calm before the storm, before the crowds arrive. Once the gates were opened, racegoers slowly filled the viewing spots, the bars and the cafes, the atmosphere growing with every hour.
I shadowed Richard throughout the day, from the stewards’ meeting at the beginning of the day, to watching the racing in both the officials’ viewing box, as well as on the course by the last fence.
During the amateur riders’ chase, there was concern that the sun may cause shadows and obstruct the jockeys’ view of the fences. However, we inspected the fences in question and thankfully the clouds came and covered the direct sun.
I had full access to the whole racecourse, even the stables and the veterinary centre, as well as meeting a lot of interesting people.
It was brilliant to see behind the scenes at such a prestigious course, and experience the hard work it takes to ensure race day is a success.
I’m very grateful to Richard for allowing me to join him for the day.
Tuesday, October 24, took me to Exeter Racecourse for a day with Racetech.
After riding out at Oliver Sherwood’s in the morning, I made my way to Exeter. Once I arrived I met the Racetech team, and had a tour around their “behind the scenes” vans where all the work happens.
I met the broadcasting manager, and the team who keep the cameras on the right subject and in the right lighting as they air to the TV. For the first race, I was lucky enough to climb the tower next to the finish line and experience how the photo finish works.
There was no call for the photo finish in the race, however, it was hugely interesting to hear about how it has developed over the years, from taking 30 minutes or more to develop a photo and find the result, to now only 10 seconds.
I also got the chance to try my hand at being a cameraman, which is a lot harder than it looks, but obviously my work was not aired!
For the next race I joined the team in the broadcasting vans, where, during the race it is a constant flicker from camera to camera, checking it all runs smoothly for the likes of At The Races and Racing UK.
After this, I joined the Winning Connections team, Lucy Johnson and Donna Harris, who look after the winning owners and ensure they get to see a replay of their race, and receive a video of the race, photos and mementoes, all while drinking a glass of champagne!
Yanworth was by far the most impressive winner of the day, which was anticipated by all and JP McManus flew in by helicopter to see him fend off the hardy Sternrubin in the Best Mate Beginners’ Chase.
Thank you to Racetch for giving me a great behind-the-scenes experience.
A day with Bevan Bookmakers
After a busy summer in France, riding out at Emmanuel Clayeux’s yard in Vaumas, routine has now kicked in and third year of university has begun.
This has given me the chance to get a few more Exeter Racecourse Student Ambassador work placements organised, starting at Ascot for Champions’ Day.
I was lucky enough to be able to join Paul Metcalfe and Ian Thardy on the 17th October and, before I met them, I had no idea what the day might entail.
But I ended up spending the day as a bookmakers’ assistant! I have never been much of a betting person, but nonetheless I had a really interesting day.
I arrived at Ascot an hour before the race and joined Ian and Paul at their pitch and, within five minutes of being there, I had already been shown the ropes and took my first bet.
Once the day got going it was a continuous stream of people both placing bets and collecting their winnings, keeping me constantly busy!
I joined Ian as a ‘front man’ and Paul was in charge of the computer work. It took a little while to get used to the routine, remembering which horse the punters wanted to bet, each way or to win, and then how much they needed to pay and what change I had to give them, it’s not as easy as the bookies make it look! However, once I got the hang of it, the first race flew by, as did the rest and before I knew it, it was time to go home! It was brilliant to see the betting world from the bookmakers point of view, and to see some top class racing with the likes of Cracksman storming home under Frankie Dettori.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity to join Paul and his team, they were brilliant to ‘work’ for, and, other than aching feet from standing all day, I had a great experience!