Lewis Piper - Student Ambassador

02nd March 2015

A winning raceday team

Meet Lewis Piper Exeter Racecourse’s official student ambassador 2014-2015. Lewis was awarded the role after successfully applying and throughout the season will undertake various work placements within the racing industry, organised by the racecourse. We’ve created the position to give students with a passion for horse racing a leg up in the industry. In September, Lewis will be presented with an official certificate open completion of his work placements.  

We are very grateful to all our work providers: Racing UK, Tom Malone Bloodstock, Racenews, Richard Linley (BHA Senior Course Inspector), David Pipe Racing, Nick Scholfield, PPAUK and BHEST.

Applications for Student Ambassador 2015-2016 will open in August. More details to follow soon.



Lewis Piper 2.3.15

For my next placement, I was fortunate to spend two days with head groundsman Martin O’Hagan and Clerk of the Course Barry Johnson. I was invited to spend the day with them the day before race day and the actual race day itself on February 20.


The day before the races provided an insight into what is involved readying the track for a race day. As Clerk of the Course, Barry had to sit in his office and take phone calls from trainers about the going changes just before they would begin to declare their horses for the next day. Whilst Barry did that, Martin and I walked the track to check the going and that everything was in place for the race day.


I saw the disadvantages of the job too as it chucked it down with rain all of the morning and mid afternoon, so waterproofs were defiantly needed. Among the things that I learned from walking the track with Martin was that the bend approaching the back straight has been there since Exeter was first opened as a racecourse. Martin also taught me all about the soil of the racecourse and about the different type of soil.


After getting soaked walking the track, we went back and met Barry. He showed me what a tidy weighing room looked like before the jockeys arrive on raceday. I then was able to ask any questions I had. As they had done most of the work needed the day before we were all able to go home.


On race day Martin and I walked the track again but this time with Barry and one of the stewards on the day. This second walk is so that the steward can agree that the ground is as described by Barry has stated and that the track is suitable to race.


After this I was lucky enough to be able to go to the raceday briefing with Martin, Barry, the clerk of the scales, stewards, starters and the judge. They discuss if there is anything to note, for example If a horse has had a problem in the past or if they want to routine test any horses in any of the races. Through the afternoon I was able to go around in the veterinary car and learn what the vets do on race day and also spend time with the doctor and the ground staff to learn about their roles on a raceday. I also spent a couple of races with Martin and Barry and the stewards in the box where they have to stand to watch the races to check for any problems during racing.


I would like to thank Martin and Barry for two really good days with them and I learned a lot. My next blog will be after the Cheltenham preview evening which is held after racing on March 3rd here at Exeter racecourse. The panel includes - Paul Nicholls, David Pipe, Phillip Hobbs, Nick Scholfield, Luke Tarr and presented by the one and only Luke harvey. So make sure you get your tickets for what will be a fantastic evening and an evening to find out what races the Westcountry horses will go for at the Cheltenham festival.