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How Ascot racecourse encourages the racegoers of the future

PUBLISHED: 14:56 14 June 2013 | UPDATED: 14:56 14 June 2013

Presentation for The Colts & Fillies Club Maiden Hurdle at Ascot

Presentation for The Colts & Fillies Club Maiden Hurdle at Ascot

Archant

Jayne McWilliam talks about how Ascot Racecourse is encouraging the racegoers of the future

Ascot racecourse is keen to encourage the next generation of racing enthusiasts and bring racing to a younger audience; with this in mind The Colts & Fillies Club was launched in 2002. The Club aims to make horseracing more accessible, interesting, educational and fun and membership is free to all children aged 16 and under. Membership currently stands at just over 16,000, making it one of the UK’s largest sport-related children’s clubs.

In addition to great racing our Family Days at Ascot provide extra entertainment for our young racegoers including crafts, interactive activities, fun workshops, fairground rides, fireworks, treasure hunts and much more. We also host a number of exclusive Colts & Fillies events, which have recently included workshops to learn jockey skills and how to care for a racehorse, storytelling with Peppa Pig, a barbecue with magic show and brunch with Father Christmas.

We encourage members to learn more about racing during our Family Days with behind-the-scenes tours, their own viewing area around the Parade Ring, the chance to meet representatives from the equine industry and back in April the chance to meet our club horse, Catchanova, and ask our trainer all about him. Outside of our Family Days we follow Catchanova, and there is the chance to visit him at home and learn all about how he is trained. There is also the opportunity to cheer him on at the track and, if we are lucky, collect the trophy!

Throughout the year, we arrange a number of trips to horsey places of interest and in recent years have visited the yards of several racehorse trainers, Dalham Hall Stud, The Metropolitan Police Horse Training Establishment, Janet Rogers Film and TV horses and the Royal Mews. Lucky members have also won tickets for days out, the theatre, special events and the chance to represent the Club in our sponsored race.

Each year we have a number of dedicated Family Days where the emphasis is on fun and excitement with plenty of attractions for old and young alike.

A Family Day is great value for money with Grandstand Admission tickets starting at £16 and all accompanied children under 18 admitted free.

Club Patrons

Ant and Dec, two of the biggest names in TV and presenters of the hit shows I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, Saturday Night Takeaway and Britain’s Got Talent, became the first patrons of the Colts & Fillies Club in 2012.

Having had a horse in training since 2010 they can often be seen at the races and we are delighted that they support us in bringing racing to the younger generation. Last year they helped club members judge the best turned out horse and present the trophies for our sponsored race and they will be back this year for the Family Day on Sunday July 28.

Catchanova – the Colts & Fillies horse in training

We are lucky to be able to experience the excitement of racehorse ownership for the third year as

Eve Johnson Houghton has kindly agreed to loan us Catchanova, to run in the name and colours of the Colts & Fillies Club.

Catchanova is a six-year-old gelding who has notched up six wins and been placed a number of times since starting his racing career in 2009.

He is trained by Eve and her team in Oxfordshire and we visit regularly to see our horse and learn all about how he is trained. Members also have the chance to support Catchanova at the track when he runs.

We have a dedicated section on our website so members can keep up to date with Catchanova, see his entries and ask any questions they may have. Our aim is to enable our members to learn all about training a racehorse and become fully involved in the sport.

Eve Johnson Houghton, trainer of Catchanova, said: “I am delighted to be able to loan the Colts & Fillies Club a horse again and hopefully we will go one better than the second place of last year. This is a very simple way of allowing a large number of young people to experience the thrill of horse ownership and learn about horse racing in a fun and exciting way.

“We need to encourage younger people into the sport and this seems a great way of doing it.”

***

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The above is featured in the 2013 edition of Royal Ascot Magazine.

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