The sport of Horseracing has been loved in Britain for centuries. Some might find it hard to believe that this ‘Sport of Kings’ is in fact the second most watched sport in Britain after football! A staggering 6 million people went racing in Britain last year. It is such a wonderful and accessible sport that takes place on 362 days of the year all over the country.
Rupert Fowler and his daughter Georgie set up the British Racing Club (BRC) two years ago. It was a dream of Rupert’s which eventually became a reality. He has always been interested in horse racing and had run racing syndicates, but this was the next step up. Rupert talks to Rosie Gimlette about the Club.
What is the British Racing Club?
We are a national horse racing club intent on turning “Racing fans into owners!” Race horse ownership is a truly special experience for anyone who shares our passion for the sport. However, it is an experience that we realised was denied to the great majority of racing fans due to the sheer expense involved in horse ownership. The benefits of being a member of the Club include monthly visits to our Trainer’s yards, many fun and social days out at the races supporting the club horses and a website full of racing action with daily racing articles, blogs and tips. This gives the members all the advantages of being a horse owner, without any of the responsibility and major expense of running them.
Where does all this horseracing take place?
Horse racing takes place all around the UK. There are 60 racecourses in Great Britain, and so far the club’s horses have run at 44 of the 60 racecourses over the past 18 months, and had 57 runners in total last year. Racing is something the whole family can be involved in and some more relaxed courses even allow dogs! A day at the races provides the perfect excuse to travel and explore the local countryside. Our members plan excursions around racing and stable visits and tag on a night or two to make a mini trip or longer. Many racing fans challenge themselves to visit all the racecourses in their lifetime! In fact, a friend of mine has just walked between every racecourse in the UK raising money for charity, a huge achievement!
Racing Festivals are larger events with two or three days of racing. A carnival atmosphere is created and all the local hotels and inns get booked up as racing fans from all around the country flock to these exciting events.
Whereabouts in the country are the British Racing Club’s horses trained?
We currently have horses with two Grand National winning trainers Oliver Sherwood in Lambourn and Lucinda Russell in Scotland, Phillip Hobbs who trains in Somerset and has had winners at all the major Festivals and been in the top six trainers nationally for the past 2 decades! Also Emma Lavelle who is based in Wiltshire and Harry Whittington in Oxfordshire have both had Grade I success. The other trainers are Harry Dunlop and Jonathon Portman in Lambourn, Ruth Carr in Yorkshire, Charlie Fellowes in Newmarket and Anthony Honeyball in Dorset.
One of the biggest benefits of being a member are the stable visits to the trainer’s yards and members are happy to travel for this experience and usually make a trip around it, exploring the local area and staying in a nearby hotel or pub. Visiting a racing yard is a fascinating insight in to the racing world. Each trainer has their own method and style of running their stables. It’s one of the most exciting and enjoyable parts of the Club as it gives you an interesting look behind the scenes and the privilege of meeting some of the superstars of the racing world, humans and horses alike!
Which is your favourite racecourse to visit?
It would have to be Les Landes in Jersey, on a summer’s evening it cannot be beaten with its stunning ocean backdrop! Just a 50 minute flight from London and you will find yourself on the beautiful Channel Island with its culture and history. Les Landes holds race meetings throughout the Spring and Summer months, and to make sure the BRC members don’t miss out we have a Club horse in training with Christa Gilbert over there too!
How often do you get to go racing?
Georgie and I go racing wherever a Club horse runs and if we have to travel far we will stay over. On our website we recommend places to eat or stay near every one of the 60 courses in Britain. We actively encourage our members to travel the length and breadth of the country to follow the Club’s horses and to enjoy the local area too. I think one of the most beautiful trips I have been on was to Hexham last summer, driving from Newcastle to Hexham I had to pull over and call my wife to tell her how beautiful the view was! I have found the most wonderful places to stay on our trips, when we visit Lucinda Russell I stay in Edinburgh, what a fun city to visit! I have also been spotted in some great West Country hostelry’s when we have a runner at Newton Abbot, and the same applies to our visits to Newmarket and Fakenham where we receive the most wonderful hospitality.
How much does membership cost?
The Club costs just £300 per year the equivalent of just 82p a day. You have the option to pay monthly, 6 monthly and annually. Membership has proved to be a very popular gift with 6 month and 12 months subscriptions available.