Life Is Better At The Races!

On day 4 of our trip (May 17th)  in Cambridge, we visited National Stud and had a night at the race track to bet on the beautiful thoroughbreds in Newmarket. Our day started at the Warren Hill or the heath, this is where we got to see the grooms/exercise riders galloping their horses in front of the trainers. They do this at 6 am to get the exercising done early rather than later to stay out of the afternoon heat. All horses must be off the heath by 1 pm and then it is open to the public. 

National stud was our next stop and we first visited the foaling unit. Here the "heavy", which means pregnant, mares are put in a paddock and checked as often as possible. Once the mare shows signs of foaling they are moved into their individual stables to wait for the arrival of their baby. Mare and foal are then moved to their designated paddocks where they are accompanied by several other mare and foal pairs until they are at an even number or up to a large group of 8.

Onto the stud world! In total there were around 7-8 studs on site where each one got their own paddock and stable with a family tree on the door. Each stud will cover around 160 mares a year and costs around £4500+ per mare. The stud then has 3 opportunities to cover the mare and then on October 1st if the mare is not pregnant they are not billed for the stud fee. If the mare loses the foal they receive a refund for the stud fee. Studs can be transferred to different countries by aircraft, the main location being Australia. 

After seeing how/where a racehorse is created, born and trained, we then got to see them run! There were many noticeable differences between the Minnesota racetrack Canterbury Downs and the Newmarket Rowley Mile track. The most noticeable difference between them is the set up of the racetrack. The lengths being 5 furlongs, 1 mile, and 1.25 mile (1 mile=8 furlongs). A circle is not a standard design either, they use a straightaway track and the longer races have a slight bend in them at the beginning that then become straight. There's also a beauty contest for the race where the winner for the best looking horse wins between £50-100. The weight the horse carries from the jockey is weighed in stones, which 1 stone is equivalent to 14 pounds. Each horse will carry between 8-9 stones during the race. 

English Word of the Day: puffer = breathalyzer 
-This was mentioned when our tour guide said that each jockey is breathalyzed during weigh in before the race to make sure no jockeys have been drinking prior. 

By: Olivia and Miriah 


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