Lisa Hancock was a successful point-to-point rider before becoming managing director of the Newmarket racecourses, the July Course and the Rowley Mile. She is just one of a handful of highly-placed women in British racecourse management.

How did you become involved in racing?

I come from a family that has always been very interested in point-to-pointing and Newmarket is my home town. I was really into racing from a young age and started riding out for Sir Michael Stout when I was quite young.

I completed the BHB graduate development programme and then started work at Warwick racecourse in 1994. I worked there for four years before moving to Haydock Park for two years. I was also involved with Aintree and Chester racecourses while I was there. The job at Newmarket came up at just the right time.

What about your own riding career?

I had great fun and rode more than 50 winners in point-to-points and amateur races. The highlight was winning a hunter chase at Ascot in 1994. I was working at Aintree and the race was three weeks before the Grand National, so I came down, met my parents, who owned and trained the horse I was riding, Richard Hunt, and we won. It was a fantastic day and very memorable.

What are the best things about your job in Newmarket?

It’s so varied. The quality of racing is second to none, and it’s amazing to control and manage two Classics.

Has there been any one day that stands out in particular?

I think it has to be the day Rock of Gibraltar won the 2000 Guineas. He has such a following with all his famous connections and it was a truly exciting, competitive race. That was the best race to date, anyway!

What ambitions do you have for the Newmarket course?

There’s still an awful lot I want to do here, in particularly with the July Course. It’s a very sensitive environment that needs a lot of thought, but we have lots of plans and ideas for developing its potential.

What takes up your time outside racing?

I still ride at weekends when we’re not racing at Newmarket and my nine-month-old daughter Sally keeps me busy. A lead-rein pony is the next thing on my list.

  • This racing profile was first published in Horse &Hound (28 October 04)


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