At the Races

A Day at the Races with Andrea Kelly

Andrea, our Travelling Head Lass, takes you through a normal raceday

Preparing the raceday kit

“It is important to make sure all the raceday kit is ready the night before, so we’re fully prepared. Carole gets the owners’ silks and the horse passports ready, as well as a raceday sheet with details of any horses requiring headgear or a tongue-tie.”

An early start!

“I always look to arrive at the racecourse at least three hours before our first runner, so that means we have some very early starts in the yard, especially during the winter months when racing starts as early as midday.”

Before setting off

“When I get into the yard, I’ll check that the horses running that day have eaten up and that their legs are fine before loading them on the lorry.”

Arriving at the racecourse

“When we get to the racecourse, the horses are unloaded, have their legs checked and are put in their stables, given some hay and water and then left to relax for an hour. The lorry is then washed out and, while the horses enjoy their breakfast, we go and find something to eat in the canteen. After breakfast, I go to the weighing room to declare the horses. Often, the going description will have changed and, if so, I’ll give Tim a ring to check that he is happy for the horses to run.”

Making the horses look smart

“The horses are then plaited and brushed, before being brought from the stables to the pre-parade ring. Tim brings the saddle, but if he isn’t at the course I fetch it while another member of staff looks after our runner, and we saddle the horse together. 15 minutes before off time the horse is taken to the parade ring, where the jockeys come to meet the owners and trainer to run through the race tactics. It’s then up to jockey and horse, but I love watching the horses run and there’s nothing like a winner!”

Hopefully, back in the winners’ enclosure

“After the race, we return to the winners’ enclosure (hopefully!) and, after photos with the owners and horse and while the celebrations continue, the horse is taken back to the stables, showered off and then walked for around 20 minutes before returning to the box. We then follow the same routine with our other runners and, after the last of them, ensure the kit is washed, cleaned and put away before loading the horses up for the journey home. We leave no earlier than one hour after our last runner, checking the horses’ legs before we leave and again on arrival back at the yard. It’s then time to prepare for the next day’s runners, and then lights out in the yard and home to bed!”

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