Who are the people of the racing industry?
We all know about the excitement of a day at the races in SA: the fashion, the atmosphere and the thunder of the horses’ hooves belting down the track towards the finish line.
But what about behind the scenes? Who are the people of the racing industry?
Every day at the break of dawn, there are teams of people who are training, tending to and caring for the horses ahead of race day.
Stable Hand Nicole Browne is one such person. She’s spent the past 10 years in the racing industry and, despite the early mornings, she wouldn’t be anywhere else.
“I’ve always loved horses, all my life. I can’t remember exactly when I fell in love. The most rewarding part of my job is watching the horses come from being yearlings and being broken in, to beginning to race as two-year-olds and three-year-olds and seeing them progress. It’s a really good feeling to see your hard work has paid off,” she says.
“Race day for me begins at 3:30 in the morning at the stables, preparing the horse and walking it to the races two hours before the race.”
Banjo has been in the industry for 40 years; he knows his stuff and the Trackwork Supervisor loves what he does.
“I bought a horse with my first pay packet at 16 years of age,” he says. “A Trackwork Day starts for me at 4 a.m. making sure there’s no rails down or rubbish on the track. Then we supervise 250 to 300 horses as they go out and come back. Once you’ve been in the industry a long time, you get to know all the people and all the horses and it’s very, very enjoyable.”
As well as the people who look after the horses, there are also horses who are looking after horses!
Trainer Paula Trenwith has been in the racing industry for thirty years and she currently works with Chocolate the Companion Pony.
“I fell in love with horses probably when I was born,” she says. “[I love] being out with them every day and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
“Choccy usually goes to the races when there’s only one horse. He’s a companion so he keeps them calm.”
Another one looking after the wellbeing of the horses is Industry Veterinarian for Thoroughbred Racing SA Dr Peter Horridge who has spent a whopping 45 years in the racing industry.
“I had my first pony when I was about seven and have been involved with horses ever since then,” he says. “The most rewarding part of my job is looking after the welfare and integrity of the horses.”
Horse Trainer John Hyam and his Foreman Sophie Clayfield love their work and with 25 years’ experience between them, they get great results.
“I had ponies on the farm when I was younger. I’ve always loved horses. I love the nature of the horse and how much they give to us as we give to them,” John says. “The most rewarding part of my job is to train winners and see the reaction on the owners’ faces when their horse goes across the line first.”
“I fell in love with horses when I was about nine,” she says. “[I love] Watching the young horses come up through their preparations and make their way to the race track and prove themselves on the track as capable race horses.”
“When you get new babies come in and you ride them all the way up to jump outs and trials and they have their first race day and they come out and win for you, it’s always good.”
There are many more people in the industry to meet and get to know, and the only way to do that is to get along to the races.
Spend a day at the races and see why there’s so much to love. From Murray Bridge, to Clare Valley and everywhere in between there’s an upcoming opportunity to enjoy a day at The Races SA
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