Jockey Club Racecourses today announced it will provide free meals for all racing staff accompanying the 21,000+ runners each year at the 348 racing fixtures it stages across its 15 racecourses nationwide from the start of Racing Welfare's 'Racing Staff Week', which begins this Saturday.
In addition to stable staff, this also includes horsebox drivers responsible for transporting racehorses to and from racedays. It is estimated this will see Jockey Club Racecourses provide around 25,000 free meals each year to racing staff.
Eligible racing staff will receive a voucher upon arrival at each raceday entitling them to a free meal from the stable staff restaurant menu (up to the value of the most expensive item, covering hot or cold food as they prefer).
These racing staff will also receive free teas and coffees at each of The Jockey Club’s racecourses. Jockey Club Racecourses introduced free bottled water for racing staff from last year’s Racing Staff Week, and this also continues.
The UK’s leading racecourse group, which already contributes industry-record sums to British Racing’s prize money, has also standardised prices across its 15 stable staff restaurants. This means that racing staff wishing to purchase additional items will always pay the same across its 15 venues and, through subsidy, these are priced affordably.
Paul Fisher, Chief Executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said:
“The hardworking staff who look after our equine stars are absolutely essential to British Racing and we want to look after them to the best of our ability while they work at Jockey Club Racecourses. I’d like to thank them for the vital role they play in our sport and I hope that today’s announcement on 25,000 or so free meals is an indication of that.
“Having consulted across the industry on this it’s clear horsemen wish us to provide these meals and I am pleased to do so from now on, as well as continuing to invest in prize money and facilities.”
George McGrath, Chief Executive of the National Association of Racing Staff (NARS), said:
“This move is very much appreciated by racing staff the length and breadth of the country.
“As the people responsible for the hard work that goes into preparing racehorses to run, we feel that a meal should be provided once they have arrived at the racecourse.
“NARS has been campaigning for this and we are delighted The Jockey Club’s racecourses have recognised the contribution that racing staff make to the industry with this groundbreaking gesture.
“On behalf of the racing staff I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Paul Fisher and Jockey Club Racecourses.”
Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the National Trainers’ Federation (NTF), said:
“This is very good news from Jockey Club Racecourses. Free meals for racing staff across the racecourse group is recognition for their invaluable contribution to event that so many enjoy and the essential care they provide to the horses.”
Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive of Racing Welfare, said:
“Racing Welfare is delighted to see the essential contribution that racing staff make recognised in this way. We are equally pleased to see the legacy of what is now the third renewal of Racing Staff Week growing to include initiatives which impact on the lives of racing staff all-year-round. We are very grateful for The Jockey Club's support of both Racing Welfare and Racing Staff Week.”