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Horse Welfare at Rhonehurst

Press Release 2nd April 2019 Aintree

Horse Welfare at Rhonehurst 


Tuesday, April 2, 2019 – In the build-up to the 2019 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse (Thursday, April 4 to Saturday, April 6), ITV Racing’s Alice Fox-Pitt has visited trainer Oliver Sherwood’s Rhonehurst yard in Lambourn - the home of 2015 Grand National hero Many Clouds.


Oliver and his team talk about the many aspects of equine husbandry involved in ensuring that their horses receive the highest possible standards of care and attention.

Among those interviewed are assistant trainer Andy Llewellyn, farrier Ben Wishart and stable lass Gracie O’Reilly. 

Alice also catches up with jockey Leighton Aspell, who partnered Many Clouds to his Aintree success as well as enjoying victory on Pineau De Re in 2014. Leighton discusses the progress made at Aintree Racecourse since 2012, highlighting the switchover to plastic cores in the Grand National fences and the ability to bypass fences.

Finally, Alice pays a visit to the Lambourn training grounds where Operations Manager Will Riggall talks about the value of the Aintree schooling fences which are built by the Aintree team every year at the main training locations in Britain and Ireland.


Sections included in the video:


The Owner: Ownership is a year-round responsibility. Time, care and patience is always required, with the best interests of the horse the number one priority. Owner Josh Apiafi talks through what is involved.


The Trainer: A trainer runs the yard, prepares and develops horses over months and years, requiring total commitment and dedication both from themselves and their staff. Oliver Sherwood talks about welfare from a trainer’s point of view.


Stable Staff: Thousands of stable staff across the UK work incredibly closely with their individual horses on a daily basis. Gracie O’Reilly reflects on her role.    


Jockeys: Dual Grand National-winning jockey Leighton Aspell talks about what is involved every day and what it is like to ride over the fences at Aintree that have been developed since 2012 to improve horse welfare.


Farrier: The role of the farrier is an essential part of horse welfare; each yard will have a farrier visit almost every day of the week assessing and fitting shoes. The number one priority is the welfare of the horse’s feet. Farrier Ben Wishart explains what is involved. 


The Training Gallops: Training horses on the gallops and over schooling fences is an essential part of their routine. Aintree builds unique Grand National-style schooling fences across the UK and in Ireland so horses can prepare and develop their skills before they even arrive at the course. Operations Manager Will Riggall discusses everything involved in managing The Jockey Club gallops and the Aintree schooling fences at Lambourn. 


About Aintree Racecourse / The Jockey Club

Aintree is home to The Randox Health Grand National, the most famous horse race in the world which is the climax to a three-day Festival meeting in April every year. The racecourse hosts five other fixtures and is a leading conference centre in the north west of England.


More information is available at


Aintree is part of The Jockey Club which stages thrilling sporting occasions including The Randox Health Grand National, The Cheltenham Festival and The Investec Derby. Millions of people every year enjoy the special experiences we offer through racing, music, food and entertainment. Governed by Royal Charter, every penny we make goes back into British Racing to help the sport thrive. We were founded in 1750 and today we are the largest commercial group in Britain's second-biggest spectator sport, operating 15 racecourses nationwide, The National Stud, Jockey Club Estates, Jockey Club Catering, Jockey Club Live and our charity, Racing Welfare.


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For further information please contact:


Grant Rowley, Regional Communications Manager, The Jockey Club (North West) on 07884 655990 or email:


Jessica Dalgliesh, Senior Communications Executive, The Jockey Club (North West) on 07464 491507 or email:



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