To start the New Year off as we mean to go on, staff and volunteers at the National Horseracing Museum recall outstanding moments from 2014 and hoped for highlights in 2015.
2014 was a full on year for the National Horseracing Museum, as Roz Howling the Marketing and Audience Development Officer recalls. The building work started on the new National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art on 20th January 2015 and the project officially ‘kicked off’. The centre, which includes a new National Horseracing Museum celebrating the science and sport of horseracing, a national gallery of British sporting art and live thoroughbred horses, will be opening to the public in early 2016. Therefore, this year’s milestone will be completing the build and fit out of the centre (along with moving 8,000 objects and operating the museum where it is this year). Meanwhile, we can sit back and enjoy the return of National Hunt great Sprinter Sacre after his year’s layoff and return to action at Ascot this month.
Who remembers the 2014 battle for the Guineas title, the first leg of the highly prized Triple Crown? Stephen Wallis, Researcher and Image Coordinator, remembers working at the racecourse shop on the Rowley Mile enjoying the atmosphere on 2,000 Guineas day and looking forward to the clash between Kingman and Australia. Of course we later saw Night of Thunder win a very interesting race. Stephen is also keen to return to the hustle and bustle of Aintree for the Crabbie’s Grand National 3 day festival in 2015.
Julia Harman, Development Officer and Project Assistant jumps the Channel with her favourite memory of 2014 evoking Treve’s second incredible Arc victory when partnered by Thierry Jarnet. Julia is looking forward to the inaugural Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot – a much-needed Group 1 sprint for three year olds.
Liz Wilkinson, the Commercial Director, recalls Noble Mission emulating his brother Frankel to win the Champion Stakes for Lady Cecil. This year will be exciting in terms of the competition between Faugheen, The New One (and the old ones), Hurricane Fly and Jezki for the Champion Hurdle. Hopes are high that Kings Palace will win the RSC Chase in 2015 on his way to Gold cup glory in 2016 just in time for the opening of the National Heritage Centre and the kings’ palace in Newmarket, Palace House.
Tony Lake first paid a visit to Newmarket in 1969 and was so disappointed. He had come to the home of horseracing yet, to a stranger, there was not a trace of heritage, he could have been anywhere … and he did not even see a horse! Thank goodness that has all changed. Tony is excited about the plans for the new National Heritage Centre. Singularly, his highlight is knowing that Newmarket Open Day is now embedded into the calendar. The event in 2014 was the third in its new format and the best yet. Tony took the opportunity to see the Equine Hospital and was warmly welcomed and came away knowing that injured racehorses are cared for by dedicated people with state of the art facilities. He also had time to go to Tattersalls and listen to Tom Goff and John Gosden talk about the “buying of racehorses” - what a wonderful insight.
On the racecourse a key highlight was the success of Davy Russell at Cheltenham. At the 2013 Festival he took such a heavy fall that he missed most of the meeting and a few months later he lost his retainer with Giggingstown. Then, in 2014, he was the star of the show with a Gold Cup success and a treble.
Meanwhile, beyond Newmarket, Tony hopes that the movers and shakers do not neglect racing's wonderful heritage. In particular he would like to see the names of races safeguarded. For example the Stewards' Cup, the Anthony Mildmay, Peter Cazalet Memorial Chase, the John Porter Stakes, the Fred Darling Stakes, the Mandarin Chase have historical value at so many levels and need preserving (at all cost). The history and heritage of which will be also be preserved in the new National Heritage Centre.
We hope the sport stays safe for horses and riders and look forward to sharing more plans for the Heritage Centre with you.