17 March 2017
Looking back, six months has passed by in a flash. All the interns have formed a clear understanding of the horseracing industry on their own and have become calmer and more skilful when dealing with different situations.
Maybe for most people, what they can see from the television is only a race that lasts for just a minute or so, but for us interns we are able to see the effort behind the scenes. We are very aware that it takes an extensive level of collaboration to make it happen.
Therefore, a race is used as a thread to trace some of the things we have experienced so far.
First of all, horseracing is about horses. Where do the horses come from? Breeding is the way.
In the thoroughbred industry, the stallion is a core concept. Only those horses with outstanding race records can become stallions. Their stud fees vary greatly and the most expensive ones can even go up to £250,000.
As we approach the breeding season, a new round of babies will be born and they will become the future of horseracing. Our DITI interns have been lucky enough to witness the heart-melting moment when a new foal arrives.
The thoroughbred industry is a quite a regulated industry. All the horses born in the UK are required to be registered with Weatherbys. Every thoroughbred has its own passport, with all the required data written including vaccination records. Like human beings, if horses are going to other countries to race, they need to bring along their passports. During our visit to Weatherbys, we were amazed by the overwhelming yet powerful compilation and integration of statistics done by Weatherbys.
As thoroughbreds grow up, they need to be broken in and trained. Team UK were privileged to have the chance to visit many famous trainers’ yards and observe the daily routines of the horses there. There are many ways to train a horse. The supporting training facilities in every yard are so well-organised that it could be compared to being in a stadium designed for national teams.
The racing system here in the UK is quite mature. All fixtures for the coming year are sent to every racecourse in late November or December from the Jockey Club and the racecourses must then organise the races.
Racecourses can add different elements such as summer concerts, best-dressed lady awards, or family days to make the races more interesting. With the desire to stand out, there is inevitable competition between racecourses. The competition, however, is a not a bad thing as it positively encourages the racecourses to create better experience for race-goers in the UK.
All these things mentioned above are just a part of what we have learned. Apart from horseracing, we have also benefited greatly from a wide range of business visits and assignments. Talks with industry leaders, mentorship from the management and communication with peers not only equip us with industry knowledge; they have also honed our business skills and shaped our personalities.
Even today, every now and then we will get questions such as “it is really worthwhile to spend ten months doing this programme instead of pursuing professional careers”.
Our answers is, as shown by the above, obvious.