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INSIDE TRACK

Thu, Jan 19, 2017

We’ve enjoyed plenty of quality All-Weather Championships action during the early weeks of January at Newcastle Racecourse with Doc Sportello taking the third Betway sponsored Fast-Track Qualifier to be held here on January 12.

Last week was especially busy over in the racecourse stables, with in excess of 40 horses lodged overnight for our two day fixture.

Colin Hall has been our dedicated stables manager for over 20 years, and is tasked with the daily management of the racing yard. Colin takes great pride in his work and goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that both horses and staff are well catered for at all times.

The stables offer a selection of either paper or shavings for the horses to rest on, with a total of 18 double boxes set aside for those staying overnight, or those who have travelled from further afield, providing a fraction more space to relax and unwind before racing. All in all, we have an overall capacity for 135 horses in the racecourse stables, with Colin ensuring that after use, each individual box is mucked out, cleaned, disinfected and re-bedded for another horse to use the next day. Along with high security, impeccable hygiene is the single most important aspect of any racecourses stables.

Of course, a large number of lodging horses means that the needs of accompanying stable staff must also be catered for. Our racecourse lodge was full last week and accommodated 35-40 staff, whilst a further 12 staff were based overnight in the Marriott Hotel down the drive.

The racecourse lodge was fully modernised two years ago, to provide a safe and warm environment in which the stable staff can rest and recuperate. There is a canteen on site (adjacent to the stables) and this is popular both in a morning for breakfast, and during the afternoon for lunch. Whilst in the evening our very own Public House, The Border Minstrel allows the stable staff a discounted meal. Furthermore, for those staff who are keen golfers, we also offer a discounted round of golf at Parklands Golf Club.

Generally, thanks to the professionalism and diplomacy of Colin; all runs relatively smoothly in the stables, with the kettle never off the boil in his office as he provides an endless supply of tea, coffee and copies of the Racing Post. We all look forward to welcoming the travelling staff and horses back to Newcastle for our next fixture on Saturday January 21.

Furthermore, our first major National Hunt race-day of 2017, featuring the Betfred Eider Chase isn’t far away, and comes up on Saturday February 25. Discounted Premier tickets are available for just £15, until January 31, by entering ‘EIDER15’ at the checkout on our website: www.newcastle-racecourse.co.uk.

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James Armstrong