Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mayo primary school children go behind the scenes at HRI Racing Juniors in Ballinrobe | Connaught Telegraph

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School children at the Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Racing Juniors education day at Ballinrobe Racecourse with jockey Derek O’Connor.

School children from six local schools have taken part in a special Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Racing Juniors education day at Ballinrobe Racecourse.

The event took place yesterday (Monday) as the south Mayo racecourse gears up for the two-day meeting on Monday and Tuesday next, May 27 and 28, featuring the flagship McHale Raceday on Monday.

One-hundred and sixty primary school children from St. Joseph’s, Ballinrobe, The Neale National School, Roxboro National School, Cong National School, St. Mary’s National School, Partry, and Cloonliffen National School got to go behind the scenes at Ballinrobe and meet local trainer Michael Flannery and his racehorse Lean Times.

Michael explained what his job entails as a racehorse trainer as well as a typical day-to-day routine for his racehorses, their exercise schedule and diet, and how he prepares them to run in a race.

Jockey Derek O’Connor brought the children into the weighroom to show them the jockeys’ changing room and the kit jockeys wear and use on race days, including boots, back-protector, helmet and saddle.

Track manager Cathal Flannelly explained how the team prepare the track for a race meeting and all the equipment required to maintain the racing surface. In addition, RACE – the Racing Academy and Centre of Education – were on hand to give children an opportunity to ride the racehorse simulator, and farrier Dylan McGrath explained the role of the farrier and the special skills and equipment required to treat racehorses’ hooves.

John Flannelly, Ballinrobe Racecourse manager, said: “It was fantastic to welcome 160 enthusiastic children from our local national schools to Ballinrobe Racecourse for our HRI Juniors education day. It’s incredibly important to us to provide opportunities like this for young minds to engage with the sport in a meaningful way that is not always possible on a race day.

“The children got to experience what happens behind the scenes and ask questions first-hand to better understand our sport and our racecourse.”

The objective of the HRI Racing Juniors education days is to encourage an affinity with racehorses among the younger generation and demonstrate the variety of careers available in the racing and breeding industry in Ireland.

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