As part of our membership benefits, TTC members are eligible to apply for a bursary grant to help further their professional development as they pursue a career in the horseracing industry. In 2017, Grace Smyth used the grant to attend the TBA Stud Farming Course, where she learnt more about the latest stud management topics from leading industry experts. Here she talks to the TTC about her experiences and aspirations for the future.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got interested in racing?
I’m currently in my second year studying Law at the University of Exeter. In future I would like to somehow combine my degree with my passion for racing and bloodstock, perhaps by specialising as a solicitor for clients in the industry, or maybe taking on some role within a specific business. At the moment I am applying for summer vacation schemes so we’ll take it from there! Having grown up near Newmarket, I was always drawn to what an exciting place it is and that is what really developed my interest in the thoroughbred industry. I am especially interested in the breeding side. There’s so much planning and dreaming that goes on years before those few fleeting moments on the racetrack!
How has The Thoroughbred Club bursary helped support you?
The bursary allowed me to attend the TBA’s Annual Stud Farming Course, which I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. This was so valuable, not only did I take on board fresh knowledge but I also met people who were keen to help in my career going forwards. When I’m applying for jobs in future I’m sure it will be useful to be able to say I attended this course, given how well respected it is.
Can you tell us about your experience on the TBA Stud Farming Course?
The course was fantastic! It was a full on three days, with highly informative lectures throughout. My favourite was John Hernon’s talk on sales prep at Cheveley Park Stud. Sales prep isn’t something I have much experience of, so I learnt a huge amount and it’s always interesting to hear how different stud farms operate. The course dinner at the Bedford Lodge Hotel was a real highlight and we were also treated to visits to Rossdales Equine Hospital and Lanwades Stud. On the last morning there was a tour of the British Racing School, where the course was held. It was lovely to stay at the School and we were very well looked after during the course with endless coffee and pastries (I’m not complaining!).
Do you see both the course and the bursary as a great way to benefit your future?
Quite simply, I wouldn’t have been able to attend the course without the bursary from TTC. The information I picked up over the three days will be enormously useful to me going forwards in pursuing a career in the industry.
Would it be possible to do it without TTC support?
No! TTC offers opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be open to people, such as behind-the-scenes trips to yards, studs and racecourses. I don’t come from a racing background so I particularly appreciate this.
Would you encourage others to apply for the bursary grant?
Definitely. It was a straightforward process and application. TTC are always keen to help young people who show an interest.
How have you found the experience of being a member of TTC?
I joined the club to learn more about the industry and build contacts with like-minded people. It has definitely exceeded my expectations in terms of the opportunities on offer! It really opens up the industry and is a fun and exciting thing to be involved with. I feel like the club is extremely supportive and keen to help careers-wise in any way, and all this for £35 a year!
The TBA Stud Farming course runs annually in December and applications for the 2018 bursary can be made via The Thoroughbred Club website.