Racemakers

Would you like to represent QIPCO British Champions Series at the races and help new or occasional racegoers learn more about the sport?

Would you like to earn free admission to the nation’s most prestigious racedays in exchange for you sharing your passion and enthusiasm for horse racing?

If so, then joining the RaceMaker team might be for you!

Overview

We're seeking racing fans to share their enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the sport of horse racing and QIPCO British Champions Series.

In exchange for your efforts on behalf of QIPCO British Champions Series, you can earn free admission to some of the most prestigious race meetings across the country. You’ll also receive a free RaceMaker’s QIPCO British Champions Series jacket, shirt and baseball cap to keep.

The Role

We are assuming that, as a volunteer, a helpful, cheery and polite nature will come as standard! If it doesn’t, then volunteering probably isn’t for you.
Beyond that, we want you to be yourself. Racing’s audience is varied and colourful, so our RaceMakers should reflect that.

How you share your knowledge and how you interact with racegoers is up to you, although you’ll be well briefed before gates open on any raceday to make sure you’re up to speed on all that’s happening on the racecourse that day and to make sure you know where everything is.

In terms of your general approach to racegoers, it’s worth remembering that you’re the expert and they’re the novice, so it’s important to make the information you impart accessible and easy to understand. Give yourself time to answer general and varied questions.

It’s important to note that customers don’t need to enjoy racing on your terms, but on their terms – so there is no expectation that we’re converting newcomers into an army of experts!

We want novice racegoers to have fun. Our aim is to teach people more about racing, with the objective of making their overall experience as enjoyable as possible. We believe that once we’ve got them curious, they’re off!

Lastly, it should be acknowledged by all RaceMakers that they are there first and foremost to pass on their knowledge and passion to racegoers, so a proactive attitude is a must-have. Getting to see some of British racing’s most exciting races free of charge, all the while representing QIPCO British Champions Series, should be seen as a privilege, and we ask for dedication to the RaceMaker role in return.

The Racemakers’ Duties

Although we’d expect you to have a reasonable knowledge of all aspects of racing, we do recognise that you’re likely to have a ‘specialist subject’, so do let us know in the application form which of the below best describes you and we’ll try to make sure we have a reasonable spread of expertise throughout the RaceMaker teams at each race meeting:

The Paddock Guide – The paddock Guide will help familiarise racegoers with the racehorse, telling them what to look out for as the horses’ parade.

The Paddock Guide will also explain some of the mysteries inside the racecard, the significance of racing silks and all that goes on in and around the paddock and winners’ enclosure.

The Betting Guide – The Betting Guide will explain how betting works on racecourse – from the Tote to the Ring, the types of bets available and how to make them. Racegoers also will be taught about odds and some of the slang surrounding them.

The Betting Guide will also share some insights into the form, explaining what to look for in a racecard and how to make a quick assessment of a horse chances.

The Racecourse Guide – The Racecourse Guide will provide help to racegoers who are not familiar with the racecourse and need to find their way around. If you know one or two racecourses particularly well, let us know!

‘Local knowledge’ will also be beneficial for this role. It’s great when the Racecourse Guide can share some of the course’s history with racegoers.

How Will RaceMakers Work On The Day?

You’ll need to be on course in good time, usually around an hour before gates open to the public.

We’ll meet at an arranged location to distribute all necessary material and make sure everyone in the team has met one another. We’ll then give you a tour of the racecourse and brief you on the day’s activities, both on and off the track.

When gates open we will ensure you are well spread out around the course, with most of the team members near the entrances, ready to greet racegoers. Around 45 minutes before the first race, you will make your way to the area of the racecourse from where you can best conduct your role – Betting Guide, Paddock Guide or Racecourse Guide. The latter of these three roles lends itself to more extensive wandering around the racecourse.

Generally speaking, we’d expect that you would remain based around these areas until after the running of the big race of the day (normally the third or fourth race). After that, you’ll be free to watch the remainder of the races. The longer you can stay to help the racegoers, the better!

The Boring But Important Stuff

RaceMakers will be responsible for your own transport to and from the venue.

As a member of the raceday team, you will need to attend a briefing with the RaceMakers’ manager on every occasion.

All RaceMakers will be provided with a food voucher to redeem when volunteer duties are complete, or a lunch bag.

All normal racecourse admission conditions will apply to RaceMakers, meaning you will have to abide by enclosure rules where applicable, including dress codes.

Dates for 2018

We need your help as a RaceMaker to make the QIPCO British Champions Series even better than ever before in 2017.

Share your passion with racegoers and volunteer this summer at the following Series racedays:

May

  • Saturday 05 May – QIPCO 2000 Guineas (Newmarket – Rowley Mile)
  • Sunday 06 May – QIPCO 1000 Guineas (Newmarket – Rowley Mile)
  • Saturday 19 May – Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (Newbury)

June

  • Friday 01 June – Investec Coronation Cup and Investec Oaks (Epsom Downs)
  • Saturday 02 June – Investec Derby (Epsom Downs)

July

  • Saturday 07 July – Coral Eclipse (Sandown Park)
  • Friday 13 July – QIPCO Falmouth Stakes (Newmarket – July)
  • Saturday 14 July – Darley July Cup (Newmarket – July)
  • Saturday 28 July – King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Ascot)
  • Tuesday 31 July – Qatar Goodwood Cup (Goodwood)

August

  • Wednesday 01 August – Qatar Sussex Stakes (Goodwood)
  • Thursday 02 August – Qatar Nassau Stakes (Goodwood)
  • Wednesday 22 August – Juddmonte International Stakes (York)
  • Thursday 23 August – Darley Yorkshire Oaks (York)
  • Friday 24 August – Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup, Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (York)

September

  • Saturday 08 September – Sprint Cup (Haydock Park)
  • Friday 14 September – Socialite E-Cigarettes Expert Doncaster Cup (Doncaster)
  • Saturday 15 September – Ladbrokes St Leger (Doncaster)

October

  • Saturday 20 October – QIPCO British Champions Day (Ascot)

Become a RaceMaker

Name

Klaudia Stokoe

Day Job  

I work for The Village Bar Catering Company, promoting the drinks etc. – and I love it!

Location  

Leeds

How did you become a racing fan? 

Now then, it was 1997, and it was July, and me and my husband (Mark) had our very first date at the races. It was at Thirsk, which is beautiful, and I had just £1 on every race. I came out well in front, but I wore high heels (not knowing what to wear) and the ground was soft, so I was getting my heel stuck right in. Wearing them must have worked, as here we are 21 years later and still together.

Earliest racing memory?           

That very same day. I was only 22 and knew nothing about racing, but I fell in love with everything about the day. I was mesmerised by seeing the horses in the parade ring, the whole experience left a lasting impression. Yorkshire people know and adore their racing. They do a great job at Thirsk.

Favourite course & why?           

Can I give you two, please?

  1. York. It’s very local, the facilities are first class and William Derby and his team have done an amazing job. It’s the best in the country for me.
  2. I’d also like to say Pontefract on Thursdays. Proper racing folk and proper Yorkshire racing. There’s no rush to get to the bars, everything is so chilled and we both love it. It’s also local.

Favourite 3 horses & why?           

  1. Penitent – The reason why is below!
  2. Kingsgate Native – The best looking horse I’ve ever seen, I especially followed him when Robert Cowell trained him (because Robert is quite dishy): quite a pair. (Editor’s note: When I told Klaudia that Robert was in an episode of Baywatch once, I’m sure I heard the pot of Yorkshire Tea she’d just made go flying all over the table)
  3. My last winner!

Explain a day at the races using just 5 words? 

I only need 4 😂

  1. Exciting
  2. Fun
  3. Sociable
  4. Watching. It’s all about watching the horses.

Most exciting day you’ve had on a racecourse?    

That’s easy, with Penitent. As owners with Middleham Park, we were at Haydock in 2014 to see him win the Timeform Jury Stakes by a short head from Breton Rock, with Eton Forever in third. David O’Meara has done a great job with him. We got him from William Haggas, but he has always had fragile legs. Very soft ground seemed essential.

The week leading up to it, we were doing a rain dance every night. But come the Saturday, not a drop of it. He opened at 12/1, then drifted right out to 20s and 25s before starting at 33/1. Danny (Tudhope) was brilliant on him. There’s a you tube clip of me (in my high heels again) determined to get in the winner’s enclosure. There was a man at the bottom of the steps and I just planted a big kiss on him.

There’s a commentary of someone saying there’s the owner kissing the trainer! That was funny cos David (and Roger Fell) were both at York. I’m not sure the man has recovered yet.

We’ve also seen Penitent race in Dubai and in the Group 1 Prix De La Foret when he was second behind Gordon Lord Byron who was supplemented. Middleham Park is a fantastic set up.

Why did you become a RaceMaker? 

Karen Thacker (@Kaz334 on Twitter) is responsible for that! She cornered me and told me, in 2014, that I’d be perfect for the job, because I love people & racing. Karen is totally nuts about this sport, and I’m not that far behind! I am a RaceMaker at York and Doncaster and I totally love it. To this day, it’s still just as special. British Champions Series makes the sport so accessible for us.

What’s your particular expertise?   

I’d say talking to the public and interacting with them. I love people and people love a smile, and friendliness (ask the bloke at Haydock ha ha).

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to first time racegoers?  

  1. Look at the horses. Keep watching them. You can learn.
  2. Wear suitable shoes, believe it or not I’m not always in high heels (though Mark wishes I was!)
  3. Have Fun. Simple.

Most enjoyable aspect of RaceMaking? 

Being with the public. They want fun with a capital ‘F’.

Any hidden talents? 

I’ve got my very own ‘Man Drawer’, which sounds wrong, but I have. I’m a DIY Queen and a bit of a lumberjack. Mark leaves me notes in the morning saying things like “the washing machine needs a new hose” or “We need a new shelf in the bedroom”. Into my man draw I go, and sort it. No messing!

Oh, and I represented my country Slovakia at the regional Table Tennis Championships.

Editor’s Note

What can you say about Klaudia that hasn’t already been said? The beaming smile, the warm, tactile nature and overload of passion. Imagine the racecourses being full of Klaudia Stokoes? The Penitent story is brilliant, as it just shows you ‘never let the price of a horse put you off’. 33/1. Job done.

The man drawer, the heels, the trainer crushes, the random surprises: No wonder Mark looks happy in all her photos. She’s a legend, is Mrs Stokoe.