Schools Go Racing at Leopardstown Racecourse


Tuesday, March 05, 2019
Kids Club Leopardstown

HRI Go Racing Kids Club Day at Leopardstown - Head of Operations David Attwood with students from St.Fiachra's Junior National School Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne


The HRI Go Racing Education Day aims to build ties between racecourses and their local community. It also aims to encourage an affinity with racing by educating children about the opportunities that are available working within the horse racing business, and what the industry offers while also hopefully producing future racegoers.

Today's event at Leopardstown saw 275 children from local schools from the South Dublin area including Hollypark Boys National School, St Fiachra's Senior National School, St Brigid's Boys National School and Holy Trinity National School. There were a series of stations, featuring a range of different professionals from within the industry such as racehorse Trainer Denis Hogan and National Hunt Jockey Denis O'Regan.After teaching the school children about the horse racing industry in the morning, both Hogan and O'Regan went on to ride winners at the final National Hunt meeting of the season at Leopardstown later in the day.

The event also featured Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jennifer Pugh, The Irish National Stud, Jockey's Valet Liam Cleary, Leopardstown Racecourse Operations Manager David Attwood, Sponsorship & Marketing Manager Joe Hennessy, a horse racing simulator from R.A.C.E. (Racing Academy & Centre of Education) and the Front Runner Kids Racing Club (with racing games, puzzles and quizzes).
 
The day also coincided with the final National Hunt meeting of the year on the South Dublin racecourse. Speaking after the event, Leopardstown CEO Pat Keogh said:
 
"It's been an incredibly successful National Hunt season here at Leopardstown with the annual Leopardstown Christmas Festival continuing to be a firm favourite and only in it's second year, Dublin Racing Festival has firmly established itself on the National Hunt calendar. A day like today is a great opportunity to showcase the industry to the next generation and it was great to have so many children from our local schools in attendance. Who knows, the next Davy Russell, Rachael Blackmore, Gordon Elliott or Michael O'Leary might be amongst the school children here today!"

St. Fiachra's 5th class teacher Aidan Campbell commented: "The HRI Go Racing Kids Day gave my pupils a unique and invaluable insight into the life of a jockey, racecourse manager, racecourse doctor and many other people working with horses. The facilitators during the day were very knowledgeable and helped to further enhance the pupils' learning. "

Fiona Griffin, Principal of St. Brigid's B.N.S. commented: "The boys, the teachers and the parent volunteers arrived back full of praise for the event. They were extremely impressed with how well run it was, how good the team were at engaging with the children, the area and the proximity to the races. We had a wonderful day, we would love to return again next year."

A day like today is a great opportunity to showcase the industry to the next generation and it was great to have so many children from our local schools in attendance. Who knows, the next Davy Russell, Rachael Blackmore, Gordon Elliott or Michael O'Leary might be amongst the school children here  today.

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