03 July 2018
The Betfair Racing Staff Week is from 30 June - 7 July. The initiative behind the week of awareness is to bring the Racing Industry together, showing the passion, skill and dedication required to work in racing.
You can read more about Racing Staff Week by clicking here.
Currently on work-experience here at Fontwell is Tabitha Killlingbeck who is studying International Equine and Agricultural Business Management at The Royal Agricultural University.
With it being Racing Staff Week, we thought we'd ask Tabitha a bit about what she's learnt in her time here so far - and find out just how hard the ground staff really work!
"From being out with the ground staff I have seen first hand the hard work that goes on in order to prepare for the racing calender. The grounds have to be looked after every day of the year to ensure optimum ground for racing and ultimately the safety for everyone involved - jockeys and racegoers."
Within days of beginning work-experience here, Tabitha had the chance to see the action of a raceday, including the quick repairs required during the meeting itself and the hard work following the fixture.
I have helped repair the hurdles after their bashing from race meets, we filled in birch to the jumps to ensure the hurdle was substantial enough, we replaced boards and posts which had been snapped from the sheer force of the horses jumping at the pace that they do.
We put up new safety railings on the new corner because the ground had been damaged due to wet weather, this is to keep the jockeys safe and not to ruin the ground until beyond repair.
The groundsmen work through every type of weather and do all sorts of jobs - from carpentry and painting to driving tractors, having bonfires, and watering the course. On race days, they become even more versatile and help out with catching loose horses and helping fallen jockeys as well as harrowing the bottom corner!
Even in the off-season (17 June - 22 August for us), Tabitha has seen the work put into taking care of the course.
At present, on our racing break, all of the fences are being replaced and rebuilt with either new birch, spruce, straw and wood depending on the type of fence, ready for the new racing calendar to begin!