Would you like to work in the racing industry?
Are you unsure of what racing career is for you?
Are you curious about the various roles in the racing industry?
If the answer to any of the above is yes then take a look at the list below which outlines many of the exciting, varied roles within the racing industry.
A betting ring inspector regulates and monitors the betting
activity which takes place with the on-course bookmakers. Day-to-day tasks
include enforcing betting legislation, dealing with disputes between bookmakers
and the general public, and allocating the bookmaker pitches on the race day. At least one
representative from the HRI Betting Division Operations team attends every race
meeting and Point-to-Point meeting taking place in the Republic of Ireland.
The role of a bloodstock agent is
to buy and sell horses on behalf of their clients at both public auction and
privately when required. A bloodstock agent must have extensive knowledge on
thoroughbred pedigrees, racing form, and conformation. This role involves working
closely with breeders, trainers and owners.
A bookmaker accepts wagers on
specified events at agreed odds. These are generally professional sports events
but they also accept bets on events like general elections and the Oscars.
Bookmakers who stand at race meetings are known as 'rails' or ‘on-course’
bookmakers. Off course bookmakers would include the high street shops and online gaming organisations. Some of the larger bookmaking organisations would have an on-course presence, a chain of shops, and a website.
The clerk of the scales is responsible for checking that a
jockey is carrying the correct weight before and after the race. The clerk must
ensure that any irregularities with the weights are reported to the relevant
The clerk of the course is
responsible for ensuring that a course is fit to race by ensuring that safe
racing ground is provided. Duties will include walking the track in the days
running up to a race meeting to determine the going, deciding if running rails
need to be moved, and watering the track if necessary.
The role of a course builder is to supply racecourses and trainers with quality hurdles and fences.
This role involves building an online connection with
customers, clients, or followers via the digital space (Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram etc) by establishing and managing an online presence.
A farrier is responsible for equine
hoof care. Main duties include shoeing, trimming, correcting and assisting
with various hoof ailments and it is a physical role. A farrier will be
required to have knowledge of equine anatomy, physiology, practical forging
techniques, and therapeutic shoeing. To become a farrier you have to serve a
four-year apprenticeship under the guidance of the Irish Master Farriers
Ground staff work as part of a racecourse team to ensure that the race track is kept in premium condition; this will involve applying nutrients or pesticides as required, cutting the grass, dealing with issues caused by the weather such as a waterlogged track. On race days ground staff will replace divots after each race, they will also carry out any emergency repairs of rail or track as required. On National Hunt racedays this will include repairing hurdles and fences damaged by horses during a race.
A handicapper will assess the performance of a horse and apply a rating based on this assessment; in most cases it takes three runs for a horse to attain a handicap rating. This rating dictates what handicap races the horse is eligible to enter and the weight they will carry in that race (most handicaps are restricted to horses with ratings in a particular range, e.g. 45 – 65 or 0 - 95). The principle of the handicapping system is to create a situation where each horse theoretically has an equal chance of winning.
The Head Lad/Lass is responsible for the smooth day-to-day running of a stable. This includes staff management, and general care of thoroughbreds including exercising and feeding. In many cases a Head Lad/Lass will have started out as a stable staff member and have attained a promotion by displaying the necessary management and leadership qualities. This role holds a lot of responsibility and being a good communicator is essential as you will be dealing with staff, owners, vets, farriers etc. To be successful in this role you must have excellent leadership, organisational, and horsemanship skills and be able to perform under pressure.
The role of a horse box driver involves the transportation of horses. A horse box/lorry driver must hold a current, clean HGV licence, and an Equine Transport licence. A certificate of competence is mandatory for anyone transporting horses for distances of more than 65km.
A Racecourse Horticulturist is responsible for all green areas in a racecourse with the exception of the race track. Duties will include, maintaining the carpark and entrance approach, attending to the boundary fences, finding suitable and available shrubs, flowers, and trees to enhance the appearance of the racecourse.
A jockey who holds a Flat licence is restricted to riding in
Flat races under the Rules of Racing. They are required to maintain a certain
weight and have a high level of fitness. A jockey who holds a National Hunt
licence is permitted to ride in National Hunt races under the rules of the
INHSC. In National Hunt racing the minimum weights are higher which means the
jockeys can be heavier than Flat jockeys.
A Jockeys Valet will work for jockeys at a race meeting. They are responsible for preparing the riders’ gear between races. As a jockey can be riding for a number of different owners on a race day this will involve ensuring that the right silks are ready and that boots and breeches are clean and presentable.
The primary role of a jockey’s agent is to book mounts for the riders that they represent. Securing mounts involves maintaining relationships with racehorse trainers, evaluating races to determine the rider’s best available opportunities, and scheduling the rider so that they will be in a position to compete in as many races as possible. Jockey agents are also responsible for a variety of administrative tasks such as scheduling interviews and appearances, keeping track of expenses and income, and managing most aspects of the jockey’s business affairs.
HRI, sales houses, stud farms, and
many racecourses, particularly the larger tracks, will employ an event manager to
organise, deliver, monitor, and review the running of events such as race
meetings, sales, trade shows, open days etc. The role will require an excellent
knowledge of the racing industry and will involve attending race meetings,
agricultural events, schools and colleges to educate, inform, and promote. Within
HRI the primary goal of the events manager is to promote Irish racing. Day-to-day
duties include liaising with the press officer, organising photo calls, and
day trips to racing yards along with all aspects of event planning.
A nominations executive works for a stud farm. The role involves
booking mares to the stallions that stand at the stud. The role will involve
building good relationships with breeders, advising clients on pedigrees, and
promoting the stallions by keeping abreast of how their progeny are performing on
course around the world. The role will involve a lot of travel during the sales
season as the nominations executive will be expected to be in attendance as a
representative of their stud farm.
A racecourse operations manager will be responsible for the smooth running of a race day, they will liaise with all on course service providers, ground staff, and race day staff to ensure everything is running to plan. The operations manager will also deal with any problems or issues as they arise.
Many people in senior roles will require the services of a PA who will provide administrative assistance to their manager. A PA will need to be well organised and have a professional and calm manner. The role will also require tact and discretion.
A press officer will deal with the media on behalf of an organisation. The role will involve writing and issuing press releases, dealing with public queries, and media monitoring.
A point-to-point handler is a trainer who can only run their horses in point-to-point meetings.
A racing journalist is someone who writes articles, reports,
or blogs on horse racing. They can work for local or national newspapers, trade
papers, racing websites, or be freelance which means that they can sell
articles to newspapers or websites.
A racecourse marketing executive is responsible for promoting race days, attracting customers and sponsors, and building relationships with the customer base. The role will also involve dealing with the media outlets to design and deliver promotional campaigns.
The role of the race day judge is to announce the placings of a race and inspect photo finishes to determine a winner.
The HRI Registrations Department is responsible for the
registration of owners, syndicates, partnerships, clubs, authorities to act,
and racing colours. They also deal with the naming of horses through the
Weatherbys stud book and the maintenance of the record of horses in and out of
A racing secretary is usually the first point of contact in a
racing stable. To be a racing secretary you must have strong organisational skills,
interpersonal skills, excellent communications skills, and a good understanding of the racing industry. Duties will include making entries and declarations,
liaising with owners, setting up new partnerships, accounting, and wages.
A racecourse manager is in charge of a specific racecourse and will be concerned with ensuring that the racecourse is run as a profitable business. While racing is the core activity for the racecourse, the manager will always be looking for alternative revenue streams to ensure the business is in a healthy financial position. Alternative uses can include renting the facilities out for conferences when there is no racing taking place, or renting the site out to hold a music festival, as both Fairyhouse and Punchestown have done successfully in the past.
The role of a racehorse trainer is to train thoroughbred
horses to win races. However the role encompasses a host of other activities
which will include the welfare and safety of both the staff and horses in a
stable, liaising with your various owners and keeping them up to date regarding
their horse, the daily routine of the racehorse, and picking suitable races for
the horse. This is a high pressure, fast-paced and exciting role. Trainers must
be good communicators and have a thorough understanding of the fundamental
principles of training racehorses.
A race day vet will be employed by the racecourse on race days to provide veterinary advice to stewards on the health, welfare and fitness of the racehorses that are due to run. The will also deal with any injuries that may arise on the day. To work as a vet in Ireland you must have a degree in Veterinary Medicine, which is registered by the Veterinary Council of Ireland. UCD’s Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (MVB) is Ireland’s only such degree.
The assistant vet will deal with the collection of blood and urine samples from the winning horses post-race. They must comply with all laboratory protocols and procedures. The assistant vet will also check that all vaccinations are in order.
The race commentator calls the race on course on the race day; they will provide race course patrons with the details of the race as it unfolds.
The Entries and Declarations Department in Horse Racing Ireland is responsible for receipt and administration of race entries. They are also responsible for issuing the weights, forfeits for early closing races, and declarations. Entries are generally made five days before the race meeting and the preliminary entries are published. The following day the entries with weights are published. Declarations generally have a deadline of 10am the day before the race meeting, with the exception of Sunday racing which is declared by 10am on Friday morning. The Entries & Declarations department liaise with the relevant racecourse managers and the clerks of the course to determine the order of running. Declarations and race card information are then distributed to the media via the HRI Publications Department. The Entries and Declarations Department will also liaise with the Irish
Horseracing Regulatory Board handicappers who supply the handicap ratings.
The main function of the HRI Publications Department is the production of the weekly edition of the Irish Racing Calendar and Form Book. The Irish Racing Calendar is produced in conjunction with HRI's Race Planning Department who schedule the fixtures and race programmes. The Publications Department will liaise with the national media on a daily basis to provide race information at the Entry, Weights, and Declaration stage. This information is compiled from data generated from the other sections within the Racing Department such as Registrations and Entries & Declarations. Information is also provided by the Irish
Horseracing Regulatory Board in relation to enquires and fines which are incurred by horses, trainers, and jockeys on race days.
The race planner compiles the annual fixture list for Irish racing and reschedules any cancelled fixtures. The race planner works closely with Flat & National Hunt Committees and the clerk of the course for each racecourse to provide provisional advanced summaries of race programmes. They also liaise with racecourse managers regarding race conditions and sponsorship with the resulting race articles published in the Racing Calendar. Members of Race Planning Department represent Ireland internationally on the Pattern Committee, which meets annually to review the status and number of pattern races run in Europe each year.
Stud hands are responsible for the day-to-day care of mares and foals. This will involve mucking out, feeding, grooming and assisting with veterinary
procedures. You will also be expected to monitor mares during foaling season
and preparing bloodstock for sales.
A stallion handler is responsible for looking after stallions
on a stud farm. Duties include the day-to-day care of the stallion, assisting
the stallion and mare during the mating process, and the presentation of the
stallion on open days and for potential clients. A stallion handler may also
get the opportunity to travel abroad if the stallion shuttles to the southern
hemisphere during the breeding season (the northern hemisphere breeding season
runs from Mid-February to July and the Southern Hemisphere season runs from
mid-August to January).
A stall handler’s role is to load the correct horse in its designated stall prior to the off of the race. Their responsibility also includes the safety of both horse and rider in the stalls.
The role of a stewards secretary is to assist the stewards to
maintain integrity within horseracing through ensuring that the rules and
processes are adhered to. They will be responsible for producing accurate reports
for internal resource and public notification on the Irish
Horseracing Regulatory Board website and
other publications. You will be expected to liaise with racecourse management
and other Irish
Horseracing Regulatory Board officials.
Stewards oversee race meetings and point-to-points and
enforce the applicable rules of racing. They are tasked with investigating
possible infractions, conducting hearings, and taking disciplinary action upon
those found guilty of violations.
The starter is responsible for co-ordinating the start of a race.
It must be done in a timely and safe manner following relevant procedures.
A stud groom will have many extra
responsibilities to those of a stud hand such as the welfare of the horses,
feeding, liaising with the vet and farrier, teasing and covering, attending to
mares and foals during and after foaling, maintaining the stud records,
supervising and liaising with staff. He/she is an essential part of the stud’s
work force and taking responsibility for the well-being of valuable bloodstock
can be a particularly rewarding career.
The stud manager is responsible for the horses, promotion and
marketing of the stud farm. The role is mainly office-based as primary duties
include overseeing the accounts, selecting and purchasing stallions and mares,
and liaising with owners. Working closely with the stud groom, the stud manager
will also be responsible for the management of the staff.
An assistant trainer will assist the trainer in planning race
entries, assessing a horse’s ability, completing racing documentation, recruiting
and training stable staff, as well as acting as the trainers’ representative at
the races when necessary.
The role of the travelling head lad/lass is to travel to the
race meetings with the horses and to ensure that the race day runs smoothly. Duties
will include organising racing gear for the day ahead, ensuring all equipment
is clean and in good working order, preparing the horse for travelling, and
turning out the horse at the races to an excellent standard.
The role of the work rider is to exercise the racehorses particularly in their fast work. They must be accomplished riders with excellent communication skills and they must also be able to follow instructions to the letter.
Yard staff are the people who work in a racing stable but
remain on the ground. Duties will include mucking out, feeding, grooming, saddling
up, putting horses on the walking machine, and taking care of the horse after
exercise. Having a working knowledge of machinery such as tractors etc. would
be an advantage in this role.
Continuing Professional Development