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Article 5th October 2022 Newmarket

By Nick Seddon

Nearly 200 schoolchildren are being treated to an exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ look at the horseracing industry in Newmarket this week, as the sport looks to inspire the next generation.

Run by Godolphin in collaboration with The Jockey Club and Racing To School, Dubai Future Education Week aims to inspire young people to become fans of and work in the sport by combining the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile racecourse, Book One of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale and this educational venture under one umbrella.

As part of the scheme, around 180 Year 8 pupils from Newmarket Academy are being handed the chance to get a ‘money can’t buy’ look at the racing industry around the town, which includes visits to the National Horseracing Museum, the Tattersalls Sales, Rossdales Equine Hospital and Godolphin’s state of the art Dalham Hall Stud.

The week of activities is part of the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project, which will hand schoolchildren aged between 11 and 16 opportunities to get a taste for the sport and the careers it can offer, while Godolphin itself works with children from as young as nine as part of their wider charitable scheme.

Penny Taylor, Charities Manager at Godolphin, explained that the scheme has a crucial role in helping to persuade more people to consider a career in racing – at a time when the industry is facing a considerable skills shortage.

She said: “Godolphin’s charitable programme aims to promote an awareness, passion and care for thoroughbreds, while nurturing our industry and its infrastructure.

“Through the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project, we have a range of different initiatives each year which are all about raising awareness about racing and giving the children an understanding of the opportunities racing can give them.

“The school are even sponsoring a race at the Rowley Mile on Friday – and I think Newmarket Academy is the only school in the country to have a race named after it! All of the Year 8 children will be there and having seen all the background that leads to a day at the races, they’ll be there to see the end product, so it’s very much a full circle week.

“The fact that so many of these children have never actually come into contact with a horse before is something we’re becoming increasingly aware of. Despite living here in the town, opportunities aren’t readily available to be able to do things like this so we’re opening it up to them and giving them this hands on experience.

“It’s great to see the joy it brings them and it’s raising their confidence. Suddenly you’re seeing children do things they didn’t think they could do. They haven’t touched a horse before and suddenly they’re riding a pony. That confidence is the starting point and it encourages them to look into building new skills and considering this sport as a career.”

Charlie Appleby, Godolphin’s principal trainer, added: “This week is hugely important for the horses, but it’s also a hugely educational week for the children. It’s been fantastic to see the children from Newmarket Academy coming up over the last few weeks and doing lots of different things.

“It’s great to see from our point of view. It’s fresh and that’s what this weekend is all about. At the end of the day, if we’re producing horses for the future we need somebody to help out and care for them, so they come hand in hand and full credit has to go to everyone at Godolphin who’s guiding them. It’s refreshing to see both here and on the racecourse.”

Meanwhile, this week is also an important one for the bloodstock industry, with Book One of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale sitting alongside Saturday’s Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes for two year olds, a key pointer to future equine stars.

The title sponsors Darley have enjoyed some fantastic success in the race since supporting it for the first time in 2000 and Sam Bullard, Director of Stallions at Darley, explained just how significant the Group One contest is to the organisation.

He said: “The Dewhurst is a fantastic race and it’s one we’ve supported since 2000. It’s a brilliant occasion for the town, of course, but from a professional point of view it’s been a huge race for our stallions and the bloodstock industry as a whole.

“It’s a race we’ve had plenty of success in since then. Shamardal won this race back in 2004 and along with Dubawi he has gone on to become one of our great stallions, while Teofilo won it in 2006 and he has a key contender in Naval Power this year. There’s also New Approach, who won it in 2007 before going on to produce a Derby winner at Epsom Downs in the form of Masar.

“More recently we’ve had horses like Too Darn Hot and Pinatubo winning the Dewhurst for us, so it’s a really important race for a young stallion and one I think a global audience looks to see what comes out of it from a stallion perspective.

“The Dewhurst just frequently produces everything which we require in a thoroughbred. There’s a certain precocity and it’s at the end of the two year old season so there’s also a need to be mature. I think a Dewhurst winner needs a good temperament as the Newmarket heath doesn’t suit everybody and though it’s a very fair race it’s got a tough uphill finish. It tests every aspect and you have to be a very good horse to be able to win it.

“It’s a really exciting time of the year and when these horses start to come through we talk about how fickle the market is and how quickly we move from one star to another. We are incredibly lucky to have a number of top horses to be coming through at the moment and our new yearlings to be selling this year are Blue Point, Masar and the sensational Too Darn Hot. It’s gearing up to be a fantastic week.”


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