National Racehorse Week
Running from 12th – 19th September, National Racehorse Week will be bookended by the existing ARC Malton Open Day and the Henry Cecil Open Weekend in Newmarket, as well as the Epsom and Middleham Open Days, with trainers across the country and outside of the main training centres encouraged and supported to open their doors to the public as well. During the week, there will also be a programme of virtual events and a showcase of other parts of the industry and their contributions to the care that racehorses receive throughout their lives.
The education charity Racing to School will also promote National Racehorse Week across its beneficiary schools, colleges and Pony Clubs, with some activity days planned at training yards for groups of young people, and wider community engagement supported by the partnership Racing Together.
National Racehorse Week was born out of an idea in 2019 by trainer Richard Phillips, to create a single event that the entire racing industry could get behind to celebrate the animals who power our sport and provide entertainment for millions, whilst also providing the public and policymakers with insight into the dedicated care that they receive. Since then, National Racehorse Week has gathered momentum and support from across the racing industry and is being funded by the Racing Foundation, The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust and Great British Racing. Great British Racing will be leading on the delivery of the project in partnership with the National Trainers Federation. National Racehorse Week is also the first public engagement campaign of the Horse Welfare Board’s Equine Welfare Communications Strategy funded by the HBLB.
Richard Phillips said: “I am delighted to see the idea of National Racehorse Week spring into life. It truly is a fantastic opportunity for our wonderful owners, staff, trainers and jockeys to come together for a common love of the racehorse and a chance to show the public and policy makers that racing has absolutely nothing to hide. Racing has a great story to tell, so let’s get it out there and tell it.”
Rod Street, Chief Executive of Great British Racing said: “The immediate and wide-ranging response to Richard Phillips’ idea of an occasion to celebrate the racehorse and show the public how well cared for horses are, was one of great enthusiasm. We are proud to be able to bring his brilliant idea to life and are grateful for the additional funding provided by the Racing Foundation and the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust. We believe this is a big moment for the sport and an opportunity for all the people passionate about horses and horse racing to step up. There is room for greater financial contribution to and participation in National Racehorse Week.”
Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the National Trainers Federation, said: “As we developed the plan for National Racehorse Week over the last six months, there has been overwhelming and enthusiastic support from trainers. Everyone wants a chance to show their respect for the racehorses to whom they give such exceptional care. I am confident that trainers and their staff, who forge such a close bond with their horses, will grasp the opportunity provided by National Racehorse Week. The National Trainers Federation looks forward to encouraging and supporting them.”
Rebecca Menzies, racehorse trainer, Sedgefield: “I am so proud of the dedication and care that my team take in looking after and preparing our horses every single day of the year. Being able to show the public what goes on behind the scenes is a fantastic idea and I am very much looking forward to welcoming them and showing everyone our wonderful horses alongside the first-class facilities we have put in place to ensure their optimum care.”
Barry Johnson, Chair, Horse Welfare Board said: “The Horse Welfare Board was very supportive of the idea of a National Racehorse Week in our strategy, A Life Well Lived. Bringing people closer to racehorses and the remarkable staff and trainers who look after them, will help to demonstrate and underline the care and commitment shown by racing to its horses. The previous, successful open days run by trainers and training centres have always provided great opportunities for trainers and stable staff to tell that story first-hand. Bringing these events together into a single, week-long celebration of the racehorse is an important next step in putting the racehorse at the centre of racing’s communications and engagement.”