Under starter's orders: Colley looking forward to starting dream job
A 24-year-old racing fan, who had never ridden before he attended the Northern Racing College foundation course on leaving school in York, has landed his dream job and will begin work as an equine welfare integrity officer and starter with the BHA on March 1.
Ryan Colley finishes as assistant to North Yorkshire trainer Ruth Carr on Friday and will be based in the south-east of England.
He said: “It will be a big relocation but will be worth it. Ever since I decided I wasn’t going to make it as a jockey – I got too heavy – it’s been my ambition to become a starter, and I’m delighted to have got the opportunity so soon.”
Ryan, who completed all three levels of qualifications through the NRC, started on the path to his next career move two years ago, when as the college’s first representative on a new international scholarship initiative he spent eight weeks in Lexington, Kentucky, studying the work of raceday officials with particular emphasis on the role of the starter and his team.
The scheme is organised by the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and funded by the HH Sheikh Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.
On his return Ryan added a part-time starter’s role for the Arabian Racing Organisation to his job with the Carr stable. “That gave me a huge head start over the other applicants when I went for the job with the BHA,” he said.
Ryan added: “I owe a big thank-you to a lot of people – to the Northern Racing College for giving me the start in the first place and then getting me on the Sheikh Mansoor mentorship programme; to Remi Bellocq, who made all the arrangements in Kentucky; to ARO for taking me on to start races, and to Ruth Carr for all her support and encouragement.
“I can’t speak too highly of Ruth, who appreciated where I wanted to go, which wasn’t riding or training. She let me have time off to do the ARO work, and then when I told her I was thinking of applying for the BHA job, she said, ‘You’ve got to go for it,’ and gave me a reference.”
NRC chief executive Stephen Padgett said: “The IFHRA scholarships are a tremendous initiative and provided a great opportunity for Ryan, who has been an excellent ambassador for the college. We wish him the very best in his new career.”
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