Friday 24 May 2019

Mallow students given the lowdown on the sport of kings

Students from the Patrician Academy pictured during their recent ‘Education Day’ at the Cork Racecourse in Mallow
Students from the Patrician Academy pictured during their recent ‘Education Day’ at the Cork Racecourse in Mallow

Bill Browne

Transition year students from the Patrician Academy in Mallow have been given a tantalising glimpse of life behind the scenes at one of the countries busiest horse racing venues. 

The students were invited by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to spend a day at the Cork Racecourse in Mallow to learn more about 'the sport of kings' and what it takes to successfully run a multi-million Euro industry. 

HRI said the aim of their inaugural 'Education Day' initiative was to build on the growing interest in horse racing among students, offer them a comprehensive overview of the inner workings of the industry and highlight possible future career opportunities. 

With this in mind, they met a number of key industry insiders including Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) stipendiary steward Hugh Hynes, whose job it is to ensure races are run within a strict set of rule and to assist in post-race stewards enquiries. 

Head of security Chris Gordon discussed procedures around race days, while Jerry Hannon took the students up to his lofty perch in the commentary box to explain how to read a race-card and the process of commentating and calling a race. 

One of the highlights of the day was a visit to the inner sanctum of the weigh room where the students met Grade 1 jockey Ronan Whelan who took them through his daily regime and life in the saddle.

They were also given a fascinating presentation by the HRI Careers and Education (CARE) department on how the many and varied options available to students seeking to pursue a career within the  horse racing sector.

Finally, the students got to enjoy the on-track action and excitement of a race day, making the presentation to the winning connections in the first race of the day in the parade ring.  

The manager at Cork Racecourse, Andrew Hogan, he and the staff at the venue were delighted to be in a position to welcome the children to the racecourse. 

"They got a great insight into what goes on behind the scenes in the run-up to a race meeting, a taste of the fantastic race-day atmosphere and an insight into the many and varied career opportunities that exist within the vibrant horse racing industry," said Mr Hogan. 

"HRI and I would also like to extend out gratitude to everyone who gave their time to meet the students and talk about their individuals roles within the industry."