More on the BRS & MEA
It was in May 1990 that the MEA last visited Newmarket when a morning at Babraham Hall, with presentations by Mr John Firth FRCS, Mr Michael Caulfield of The Jockey Association, Dr Roy Heylings of The Racecourse Medical Officers Association and Miss Sue Dyson FRCVS from The Animal Health Trust, was followed by a tour of the Animal Health Trust and then dinner at the Swynford Paddock Hotel, Six Mile Bottom.
Twenty three years later the MEA returns on the 30th November 2013 to Newmarket but on this occasion to The British Racing School Conference Centre. The Centre was established in 1983, two years before the MEA was founded, with the purpose of providing and promoting training and education for employees of the Horse Racing industry. Originally, the emphasis was on the training of young jockeys but had the ultimate aim of creating a centre of excellence for the horseracing industry as a whole. The success of this charitable trust, set in 120 acres of Suffolk countryside, is exemplified by the Foundation Programme which provides training for fit youngsters aged 16 – 22 years and weighing less than 9 stone 7 lbs. (60 Kg). This residential Pre-Apprenticeship Course lasts for nine weeks and leads to a Level 2 Diploma in Racehorse Care on the successful completion of a further18 months in an approved racing yard. Members of the MEA may be encouraged to know that there is no weight restriction on the week long TRIC (The Racing Industry Course sponsored by Lycetts) taking place in February next year for those with a special interest in horseracing. There must be much to gain for those attending who are likely to be amongst the 100,000 employed in this multi-million pound industry attracting 5 million spectators annually.
The Centre has a Board of Trustees chaired by Martin Mitchell, formerly the Sales Director for Tattersalls, and includes Michael Caulfield, former CEO of the Jockeys Association of Great Britain, who addressed our meeting in Newmarket twenty three years ago! The CEO of the Management Committee is Rory MacDonald and the Conference and Events Manager is Lissie Mitchell (01638 669040, Lissie.Mitchell@brs.org.uk).The Centre is the only UK purpose built training facility and in addition to an indoor school also has a two and a half furlong round all weather gallop and a seven furlong straight all weather and grass gallop, 50 acre grass gallops and about 60 former racehorses.. It is of little surprise to learn that it requires 3 million pounds a year to run, much of which comes from Government funding to meet running costs via the Skills Funding Agency. However, any major capital or expenditure project has to come from charitable donations and fundraising.
Members who survive the Saturday Equishute experience will have the Sunday morning to visit either the Newmarket Equine Hospital or the National Horse Racing Museum, opened in April 1983, where treasures such as Fred Archer’s saddle and Prince Monolulu’s jackets are displayed.
A visit to www.britishracingschool.org.uk will provide a comprehensive account of this impressive facility with a variety of instructive and entertaining website links.
Dr John Lloyd Parry