CLOSER TO THE ESSENCE OF RACING THAN EVER BEFORE
WHEN A RACING POST REPORTER SPENT A DAY AS A STALLS HANDLER
RaceTech revealed the mysteries of starting stalls procedure to the wider racing public when inviting Steve Dennis, Deputy Features Editor of the Racing Post, to work as a stalls handler for a day as part of the Post’s “On The Job” series, in which editorial staff turn their hands to various roles within the sport.
After undertaking the training course at the British Racing School in Newmarket, Steve (like all professional handlers an experienced horseman), put that education to the test when joining the stalls team – “the seemingly nerveless band of brothers who spend their working days at the sharp, steel-shod end of the industry” – at Goodwood on 22 May 2008.
Steve was deployed in the 11-strong team as one of the four “pushers”, who do just that: they push the horses into the stalls, using various means of encouragement as necessary, while the rest of the squad act as “leaders”.
The novice’s day at the sharp end went without a hitch, and as a new career beckoned he declared: “This may be the best day I’ve spent on a racecourse … I’m closer to the essence of racing here than ever before, and that inspires a joyful satisfaction.”
That satisfaction was shared by Geoff Reed, stalls team leader at Goodwood that day, who had clearly spotted a likely new recruit to this specialised but vital calling: “Steve did really well, as well as anyone has done when doing the job for the first time. He was confident around the horses, got stuck in when necessary and got on well with the rest of the team. He’s welcome back any time.”