Stable staff: the unsung heroes that are integral to racing

Tracy Harrison won The Horse Comes First’s competition at the Many Clouds Lambourn Open Day, and received two tickets to the Investec Derby Day. Here Tracy, a lifelong racing fan, describes her day at the races and highlights the role of the dedicated people who provide first class care to racehorses every day.

“When I entered the  competition  to win tickets to the  Epsom Derby on the Horse Comes First stand at the Many Clouds Lambourn Open day I didn't think for one second that I would actually win, but win I did! Safe to say I was surprised and absolutely delighted. Racing is a passion of mine and has been since I was a small child (which was many years ago!) I love the sport and have such admiration for all involved, especially the horses and the staff that take care of them behind the scenes. These are the unsung heroes that are integral to racing .

“I travelled down on the morning of the Derby making an early start as keen to hit the road and beat the traffic, arriving in time for gates open. The crowds were starting to arrive and everyone was in buoyant mood plus  the sun was shining! I was eager to see the racecourse, it was my first time at Epsom Downs and I had heard how  the hill and undulations make it a challenging course. I was amazed just how tricky  the course looked when seeing it in all its glory. This really brought it home to me how powerful thoroughbreds horses are, the Derby surely is the ultimate test.

“It really was a fabulous days racing with seven races on the card, the atmosphere was electric and, as the Derby grew closer, the excitement amongst the crowd was palpable. I head to the parade ring before each race for this is my chance to see the horses up close. It’s always pleasure to see them being led round by their grooms and it was apparent that they are very well cared for - gleaming coats, reassuring pats and kind words from those that look after them on a daily basis .

“One of the highlights for me was seeing Sovereign Debt win. He is a beautiful fellow and certainly a crowd pleaser with a big cheer from everyone as he crossed the line. The Derby itself was my ultimate highlight. The atmosphere around the parade ring was buzzing as the horses walked around, with the Queen making her appearance in the centre, followed by the procession and then the race itself. They went at a fast pace demonstrating bravery and determination  from  both horse and jockey.  I understand now why they call it the greatest flat race in the world . It really was a wonderful day.

“In his poem entitled The Horse, Ronald Duncan wrote, ' Where in this wide world can man find friendship without envy . Beauty without vanity or pride without nobility . Here where grace is laced with muscle and strength by gentleness confined '.”