A day in the life of a BHA Graduate – Week 1
My name is Kieran Kenworthy and I am currently doing my BHA placement at Newton Abbot Racecourse. The BHA Graduate Development programme is for recent graduates that have a great interest in the horseracing industry and allows participants to gain a more in-depth knowledge of British horseracing.
I have completed a 2 week residential course at The British Racing School in Newmarket which involved talks from leading professionals and organisations within the industry such as:
- ROA (Racehorse Owners Association)
- RCA (Racecourse Association)
- BHA (British Horseracing Authority)
- NAOSS (National Association of Stable Staff)
- Racing Welfare
- The Jockey Club
- Racing Post
The application process for the BHA Graduate Programme entails a brief description about why you would like to do the programme, your interests in racing and where you want to be in the future. If you are successful at this stage, you will be asked to attend an assessment day at the BHA main offices in High Holborn in London where you will be assessed on:
- Ability to interact with other applicants
- Group presentation
I have recently graduated with a BSc (Hons) Equine Science degree at Hartpury College in Gloucester and have broad knowledge within British horseracing. I have ridden out/exercised racehorses for many top National Hunt racehorse trainers in the country. I will be writing a blog every week during my placement to allow more insights to racegoers and anyone that is interested in a job within racing or to anyone that would like to find more about what happens behind the scenes of race day operations, marketing and how a racecourse is run.
Week One: Newton Abbot Racecourse and Actuate Marketing
In my first week of my placement I have been given a tour of the racecourse to familiarise myself with where everything is and how the racecourse is run through a business perspective as the racecourse is independently run. There are some great insights that I have been told that could greatly benefit the racecourse and the surrounding area such as a possibility of new plans on building a conference centre next to the racecourse which could also be combined with great views of the racecourse during race days.
This week I have also met Jason Loosemore, the Clerk of the Course, whose role is to manage the grounds of the racecourse, to declare official going on the day of racing, monitoring the going in the run up to the race and covering or watering the track as necessary to maintain a particular going.
During the race day on July 23 I was tasked to collect feedback from racegoers in order to develop an understanding of how the racecourse can further improve on customer satisfaction and I also had an insight of what the racecourse judges do in their role.
The judge sits high up in the stands, directly in line with the winning line. Only when he’s in position and has checked with a photo-finish operator that the two digital cameras are working, can he contact the starter and enable the race to proceed. The judge will identify the first four (or five) horses home, using photo-finish imagery to determine the order if needed. The result is then confirmed to the public and the Clerk of the Scales.
From an office-based perspective I have been given a task to analyse how many runners per year (2015-present) in class 3 to 5 hurdle and chases the racecourse has had to see if this has been improved year-by-year following the increased prize money of over £1,000,000. I have also spent time with the racecourse’s marketing agency to gain an understanding into how the racecourse is promoted.
Within the time of my placement I plan to give much detail and insights of many roles within the racing industry, what it takes to run an independent racecourse and how the British horseracing is evolving and improving.