Case Study – Tom Ryall

“The time working in a racing yard has been invaluable and has given me an unbelievable insight into what actually happens behind the scenes within the racing industry”

Tom Ryall is a Racing Groom, working for racehorse trainer Harry Fry. Here is his career story.

“Let me start from the beginning. In common with many youngsters, my ambition from an early age in my home town of Doncaster was to become a professional footballer. I was involved with local teams from the age of four, and the sport consumed my childhood. However, after I had been with been with my Sunday league team Barnburgh & Harrington for over 12 years, the club called time, leaving me somewhat puzzled about what to do with my spare time and career.

In June 2014, having successfully completed my A-levels, I was accepted by Leeds Metropolitan University to study business and sport management. After much discussion with close family and friends, I decided to decline the offer in favour of pursuing a career in the horseracing industry. Some might say it was a bold move, but I felt that I was ready to get out into the real world, so to speak, and start my own life adventure.

My strong interest in horseracing came from my father’s side of the family. After owning a couple of horses as part of a syndicate, I went to local racedays from an early age, and this led to a family friend introducing me to the National Horseracing College, which is situated only ten miles from my home in Doncaster.

After researching what the college offered, I was successful in my application for a place on the 12-week residential course to part take in the Horse Care and Riding Level 1 Diploma. That was another bold move, as I had zero experience riding horses of any kind. However, I was determined to be successful in the industry.

After completing the course, I was sent to the stable of Harry Fry, an up-and-coming National Hunt trainer who was once pupil assistant to multiple champion trainer Paul Nicholls, for whom I worked as a Racing Groom, alongside completing Levels 2 & 3 in the Horse Care and Riding Diploma.

My time with Mr Fry in Dorset has been invaluable, as I have experienced the racing industry in a totally hands-on role. I believe this is a huge starting point in any individual’s racing career, as it introduces them to how much time and thought is put in to the training of each individual horse. After four seasons, I was promoted to the role of Assistant Head Groom, which meant taking on more responsibility, as I was in charge in his and the assistant trainer’s absence.

The time working in a racing yard has been invaluable and has given me an unbelievable insight into what actually happens behind the scenes within the racing industry.”

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