Case Study – Chrissie Sykes

I am also the Yard Mentor and I enjoy helping the staff with various issues. They all know my door is always open for them

Chrissie Sykes is a Racing Secretary at Ruth Carr Racing. She was also nominated for a Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Award. She talks about her role and how coming into your dream career has no time limit!

In July 2019 I had been reflecting on my career and how I had been in my previous three positions for approx 10 years each. It got me thinking that at the age of 53, I probably had another ten years of active work life left in me and I decided to search for a career which involved my passion for horses.

With all this renewed interest in horses, and after attending many Yard Open days in Malton and Middleham, it made sense to approach local trainers and ask if they had any Staff vacancies and by chance my CV landed on Ruth Carr’s desk on a busy July race day. Ruth had always carried out all the Office work as well as everything else and she invited me for a chat. We hit it off straight away and I was very impressed with Ruth’s efficient work methods and her immaculate Yard with lots of happy horses and staff.

Ruth created the role of Racing Secretary for me and I started this position at the British Racing School in Newmarket on the Racing Secretary course. I had a wonderful few days learning all about the Admin and strict Rules and Regulations and everything that goes on behind the scenes. I also got up early one morning to watch the horses exercise out on the Newmarket gallops and was lucky enough to see Enable exercising before her trip that weekend to the Prix de L’arc de Triomphe.

Having only attended the Races as a spectator, I had little idea of what was involved to get the right horse to the right racecourse, with the right colours and the right Jockey and the sponsor’s logo displayed correctly in the right position at the exact size – the list goes on.

With Ruth’s help I quickly settled into my new role and I am loving every minute. It is great to see the Yard activity from my Office window and see the horses setting off to go racing.

My biggest achievement at Ruth Carr Racing

Actually, I have two things that I am very proud about. First, I had only been in this role for a month when we learnt that our yard sponsorship was not being renewed and I set about to find a replacement Sponsor. I approached over 200 businesses before successfully securing a three year deal with XRE Construction Training Ltd. During the three Lockdowns last year, I kept the Sponsors updated with photos and news from the races which is particularly helpful given that they have been unable to attend any racing since the start of this Sponsorship deal.

Secondly, I was a runner up in the Newcomer Award Category of the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards 2021. I was very kindly nominated by the Yard sponsors and Ruth.

This is the Racing TV video of my nomination.

 What I enjoy most at Ruth Carr Racing

I like to get my teeth into a challenge, be it installing and learning the new Yard Staff Software or developing extensive spreadsheets to record Data, I get a great deal of satisfaction seeing a project through to a successful conclusion. I am also the Yard Mentor and I enjoy helping the staff with various issues. They all know my door is always open for them and it helps my mental health knowing that I have made a difference to someone.

If I was asked “what advice would you give someone entering the Racing World” I would say ask questions, lots of them; no matter how trivial you may think they are. I love people asking me questions. It shows they care, and they want to learn and if I can pass on the knowledge I have learnt during my 40 year career, then that makes me happy.

I would also say that you are never too old to learn and never too old to join the wonderful world of the Sport of Kings. Take it from me as veteran, age is not a barrier!

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