Case Study – Robert Supple

“I feel it is important to have experience within this industry and you must be willing to accept that things will go wrong”

Robert Supple works for the British Horseracing Authority as a Starter. He explains his role and his career in racing.

“I am required to be on the racecourse at least two hours before the first race, although this would be longer for the Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot, Epsom Derby, etc. When on course, all of the officials are based in the weighing-room and we report for a pre-race briefing in the Stewards room about an hour and a half before the first race.

In the briefing we go through the card, sharing information with each other on the day’s runners and any other issues, before heading off to fulfil our various roles and responsibilities throughout the course. After the last race, we return to the weighing-room to say goodnight to the Stewards and, provided there is nothing left to deal with from any of the races, make our way home.

I originally worked as a Stable Groom in a National Hunt yard in Ireland and my boss at the time advised me to get a job in a Flat yard to get my apprentice licence. I had some rides on the flat before becoming a Jump Jockey and moving to Britain in 1987 and after I stopped riding in 2000, I knew I wanted to stay in the industry, so here I am today.

Some of the people that I work with are also my friends and there is a great sense of belonging to a team. There is also a great deal of job satisfaction when a meeting has gone well and you feel you have made a difference.

I feel it is important to have experience within this industry and you must be willing to accept that things will go wrong. There will be some unfair media criticism, but also some fair! You also have to be prepared to treat this job as a way of life as it is by no means ordinary!”

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