To mark Racing Staff Week we are looking at initiatives within the racing industry that have a positive impact on the lives of people working in the sport all year round. Today’s focus is on the NARS Racecourse Ratings.
What is it?
The National Association of Racing Staff (NARS) Racecourse Ratings were initiated in 2016. The aim of the scheme was to allow racing staff attending racecourses with runners to have a say in the facilities they have access to when working at the races. The ratings are compiled by seven Racecourse Inspectors, all of whom are working members of racing staff.
This system seeks to establish the quality of what racecourses offer staff in terms of the following: the canteen, the day amenities, overnight accommodation and stable yard facilities. Each of the Racecourse Inspectors have a set number of racecourses to visit, with every racecourse in the country covered. The inspectors are responsible for assessing their racecourses at least twice yearly wherever possible. The aim of the scheme is to pinpoint improvements that could be made, but also to highlight areas where racecourses are doing things well.
How does it work?
Overall ratings for each course are allocated according to scores for the following areas:
• Overnight Accommodation To be judged on the quality, the cleanliness and whether the rooms are multiple occupancy or single
• Day Facilities To be judged on the quality and cleanliness and if there was an area away from the canteen for staff to relax
• Canteen To be judged on the quality and choice of the food, cleanliness, price and service
• Stable yard To be judged on the loading ramp, the stable yard (bedding, the quality of the stable block etc.) and wash down facilities such as water pressure and number of hoses available
These four primary areas are made up of 12 sub-headings with a maximum of 10 points for each heading, giving a total of 120 points available. Stars are allocated on the basis of the overall points total.
Who is doing well?
Six tracks given a five-star rating within the 2018 Racecourse Ratings survey, made up of Ascot, Chelmsford, Newton Abbot, Perth, Wincanton and Chester. Have a look around the facilities at Wincanton here …
Ratings for the 2019 report will be published in the Autumn. Read the full 2018 ratings’ report here.