No such thing as a free lunch – or is there?

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  • Racecourses are giving free lunches, putting on special races and increasing best turnout prize money at meetings across the country during the first Stable Staff Week.

    Organised by the charity Racing Welfare, the initiative runs from Monday 27 June until 2 July, to “celebrate the role of the unsung heroes of racing – the stable staff and all the other behind the scenes staff that play a vital role in the production of British horseracing”.

    Jockey Club racecourses are providing staff with vouchers for a free meal at meetings at Kempton, Epsom Downs, Haydock Park, Sandown Park, Carlisle, Nottingham and Market Rasen.

    A free prize draw for a hamper is being held at all Arena Company racecourses including Windsor, Wolverhampton, Brighton, Chepstow, Bath, Worcester, Yarmouth and Doncaster.

    At Musselburgh during the meeting on 27 June the racecourse will be providing free food in the stable staff canteen, increased best turnout prize money and glasses to winning grooms.

    Pontefract racecourse has added a new ‘lifetime in racing’ award race to its card on the Monday 27 meeting, to recognise the career of Rose Beattie, who has worked in racing since 1969 and still continues part-time.

    On 1 July at Doncaster the Betfair Clock Tower Cup stable staff charity race takes place with every winning groom receiving a goody bag.

    In Scotland, Perth racecourse has timed the official opening of its new lodge accommodation for stable staff to coincide with the week.

    Further south, Newton Abbot racecourse is doubling its best turnout prizes to £100 and giving commemorative jackets to all staff who lead up winners.

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    We are incredibly grateful to all of the racecourses, countrywide, who have offered their support to this exciting initiative,” said Dawn Goodfellow, Racing Welfare chief executive.

    “Stable staff week will not only help to give racegoers greater knowledge of the vital role of stable staff; it will also demonstrate to the staff who go racing just how much racecourses appreciated their effort.”

    Paul Fisher, managing director of Jockey Club racecourses, said: “Stable staff are vital to horseracing in Britain. This army of dedicated staff provides tremendous care for our racehorses and it’s great that Racing Welfare is drawing attention to that this week.”

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