A YORK agricultural college is trying to help plug a shortfall in the horse racing industry and inspire more young people to pursue careers in racing.

Askham Bryan College, the British Horse racing Authority (BHA) and the Racing Foundation have joined forces to launch the £700,000 ‘Racing Stream’ initiative which will see the development of a purpose-built racing yard, including all-weather gallops, outdoor school, 16-box stable block and ancillary facilities at the college’s York campus.

This investment includes a pledge from the Racing Foundation towards the costs of the all-weather gallops and racing yard.

It will bring a new element to the training of the college’s 300 equine students and will provide a range of racing-related courses at all levels, including stable staff, work riders, racing secretaries, sports turf management, pony racing, point-to-point jockey training and there will also be a PhD course.

Askham Bryan made its racing debut last year with the construction of a point-to-point course which has been used successfully by the Badsworth and Bramham Moor and West of Yore hunts as well as by students studying a range of courses.

The Racing Stream has generated local and industry-wide support and a Racing Technical Advisory Committee has been established at the college to steer its development.

Those who have expressed support include the National Trainers Federation, the National Association of Stable Staff, many of the northern-based trainers (including Mark Johnston, whose wife, Deirdre sits on the Advisory Committee), Yorkshire racecourses, the Pony Racing Authority, the Point-to-Point Association, North Yorkshire County Council and the North Yorkshire LEP.

Rob Hezel, chief executive of the Racing Foundation said: “We are delighted to be supporting this initiative and welcome the additional training capacity it will provide for the horseracing industry.

"The Racing Stream will complement the existing provision at the British Racing School in Newmarket and the Northern Racing College in Doncaster, and ensure a comprehensive range of training opportunities for those interested in working in racing.”

Carole Goldsmith, director of people and development at the BHA said: “We are keen to develop additional entry routes for racing industry entrants, particularly those who, with the correct knowledge and training, will provide a new pool of potential stable employees. This will give the industry a valuable additional training facility which each year will create hands-on racing expertise for 80 well-trained stud and stable staff as well as for a variety of other qualified personnel, such as, grounds staff, racing secretaries and veterinary nurses. We see this training provision as complementing the work of the existing racing schools and are keen to encourage collaborative activities between these important training providers.”

Liz Philip, Executive Principal of Askham Bryan College said: “We are perfectly placed to help respond to the skills shortages reported by the BHA, as not only is Yorkshire renowned for first class racing, but our York campus is ideally situated between Malton and Middleham, the two main centres of racehorse training in the North. In addition, we already have strong links with industry, our equine courses are thriving, and we are the only UK college to have a point-to-point course on campus."