Visitors flocked to Epsom on a sun-drenched Bank Holiday Monday yesterday (26th August), descending on the training centre to enjoy looking around the yards of seven trainers based in town. Organised by Racing Welfare, the morning saw a strong crowd of families and racing fans gather at Epsom’s gallops from 8.30am, where ITV Racing’s Rishi Persad interviewed the local trainers as their strings cruised up past an enthusiastic audience.
Yards opened to the public from 9.30am, with visitors shuttled around free from yard to yard on a specially laid on bus service. Jim Boyle, Michael Attwater, Pat Phelan, Roger Ingram, Simon Dow, Mark Pattinson and Adam West all gave a hugely warm welcome on the day, providing people with the chance to get up close to Epsom’s equine residents throughout the morning. The relaxed holiday atmosphere was palpable and the warm weather allowed visitors to take in this historic racing centre in its best light, enjoying panoramic views across the Downs and over central London, all before they’d even left the car park.
Funds raised by the morning’s events went to Racing Welfare, which has a dedicated welfare officer based in Epsom. The charity organises regular sporting and social events for working staff around the country, the most recent of which brought together over 60 people working in racing, travelling from as far away as Middlesex for the charity’s annual Epsom Rounders match and bbq last week. Epsom and Arundel’s retired racing community is also particularly strong, with 65 people attending the most recent renewal of the charity’s monthly coffee mornings.
Racing Welfare’s Head of Fundraising, Mark Loades, said “We were delighted to see so many people at Epsom yesterday; to have so many visitors coming to take in all that the centre has to offer is fantastic. My most sincere thanks to all of the trainers and their teams for making the event possible, along with Rishi for joining us at the gallops. A huge thanks also to Jockey Club Estates and Epsom Downs Racecourse, with whom we are very proud to work to bring this wonderful event to the public each year.”
Action moved on to the racecourse in the afternoon for Epsom Downs’ Adventure Family Fun Day. The Jockey Club’s hallowed Epsom turf hosted a seven race card, the warm up act for which was the unmissable Careers in Racing ‘Hop til you Drop’ Spacehopper Stakes. Eight teams pitted their hopping prowess against each other, featuring representation from the BHA for the first time this year, rechristened – for one day only – as the British Hopping Authority. Despite a gallant lunge for the line by the racing authority’s anchor leg, the result went to the judge and a photo confirmed the team from Jockey Club Catering as the eventual winners.
The afternoon’s events were wholly geared up towards encouraging families to come racing. An array of activities were on offer, including a climbing wall, trampoline bungee, travalator, high rope assault course, crocodile encounters, face painting and petting zoo.
We would like to express our most grateful thanks to all of the trainers and their teams of staff who supported this year’s Epsom Open Day, along with all of our generous sponsors and The Jockey Club’s Epsom Gallops team and all at Epsom Downs Racecourse who worked to bring the day together.