OVER 2,000 racing fans and potential racehorse owners got to go behind the scenes at training yards across the country last Saturday for the inaugural National Racehorse Trainer Open Morning.
A total of 28 trainers opened their doors to the public, the first time that such widespread access has been provided. Visitors received a tour of their chosen yard and its facilities, got to meet the trainer and their teams, and most importantly saw horses in their home environment.
Jason Morris, director of racing with Horse Racing Ireland, said: “We are extremely pleased with the feedback from the event. With over 2,000 visitors attending yards spread right across the country, it has certainly helped to raise the profile of racing nationwide.
“The event was designed to allow people to look behind the scenes and to see for themselves the expert attention that racehorses receive and the dedication of those involved in caring for them. We are very grateful to the trainers who supported this initiative and we hope that this event will have encouraged people to become involved with them in the thrills of racehorse ownership.”
Shark Hanlon was one of the participating trainers. He said: “We had a brilliant day. We had about 130 people through the yard. We’ve a number of horses available for lease which visitors were interested in. I’m hopeful we will do business on the back of it.”
Stamullen, Co Meath, trainer John McConnell reported: “It was a good day which people seemed to enjoy. We generated a few leads. Time will tell but it was certainly a worthwhile exercise.”
In Co Armagh, Marshall Watson, speaking on behalf of his father, Keith, said: “People I’ve never seen or met before came through the gates. Even people that I would see at the races but haven’t met came along. The open morning got people in through the yard gates and introduced them to the staff. It has been a great idea and I think it is a great idea to maybe do it on a yearly basis.”
Visitors attending yards watched horses on the gallops and met the teams that look after them. They saw horses jumping and practicing coming out of starting stalls. It was also an opportunity for visitors to see facilities, meet farriers and veterinary surgeons and ask all the questions they wished.