Racing figures sign declaration to promote 'wonderful global sport'
Racing figures from around the world have gathered in Newmarket this week to unite in a movement to promote racing and all it has to offer through educational initiatives within the industry and outside.
They came from the four corners of the earth with representatives from Australia, the United States, Japan, Britain, France and Ireland attending.
A three-day forum produced an open letter to the worldwide thoroughbred industry, signed by more than 50 leading racing figures, including John Gosden, Ed Chamberlin, Annamarie Phelps, Nick Rust and Brian Kavanagh.
The message was for all in racing to come together and help educate and mentor future generations about the benefits of being involved in racing.
It contained a rallying call to share knowledge and work together in communities and education to "ensure a sustainable and successful future" for racing.
Sheikh Mohammed, whose Dalham Hall Stud hosted the forum, has long been an advocate of education to help and advance racing, having founded the Godolphin Flying Start graduate programme 15 years ago and more recently the Beacon Project in Newmarket in association with the Newmarket Academy.
Students from that academy addressed the forum about their career hopes along with some current and former stable staff who told of their positive and negative experiences.
Diana Cooper, Godolphin's representative, said: "There is already an enormous amount of work happening and the group want to make it work more efficiently.
"Racing has to use its resources, extending across the whole range from studs, stables, racecourses and aftercare, in education and engaging with the community."
The group's aim is to educate both within the industry's workforce and outside it in a three-year plan.
The letter stated: "By 2023 we want our education, community engagement and workforce development strategies to leverage all our assets; make us greater than the sum of our parts, and to attract, engage, inspire and retain the commitment of future generations."
Racing, both in Britain and worldwide, has faced increasing pressure on its image from the public with some bad publicity about horse welfare and gambling issues in recent years.
Concerns have also grown over attracting owners, race sponsors and stable staff.
The letter, headed Godolphin Forum for Education, went on: "Our industry is special. It is a wonderful, global sport with great heritage. It is socially inclusive and diverse, and it unites us all behind the love of the horse."
The forum agreed to set up a global group to co-ordinate activities and produce an action plan for the next three years to take concerted action together.
The letter concluded: "The most important message that we wish to convey to you at this stage is that we have never felt more united in our determination to use education and development to enrich the lives of more people, and to engage them within our great industry."
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