Ryan Colley is preparing for an eight-week break from his job as assistant trainer at Ruth Carr’s North Yorkshire horseracing stable to make the trip of a lifetime - but this is no holiday.
Ryan, 22, is heading to the USA as the first representative of the Northern Racing College in Doncaster to take part in a new international scholarship.
Under a scheme introduced this year by the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), he will leave on January 18 and be based in Lexington, Kentucky, studying the work of raceday officials, with particular emphasis on the role of the starter and his team.
Ryan, who will provide reports on the venture for the NRC and the Carr stable’s monthly newsletter, says: “I’m really excited. It’s my first visit to America, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their racing system operates. I’m told it’s very different from ours, so this is a fantastic opportunity to see it at first hand.
“Having been a stable lad and ridden as an amateur, it will be fascinating to learn new skills from the racing officials’ side. I’ll also be spending two days in Dallas taking a certificate in starting procedures, which will be a useful qualification on my CV.”
Ryan, from York, had never ridden before he attended the 12-week NRC foundation course on leaving school. He completed his training qualifications through the College while working for trainers James Given, Alan King and Willie Mullins, before joining Mrs Carr, for whom he has ridden two winners from eight rides as an amateur.
However, at over 1.8m tall Ryan’s riding career was always destined to be short, and he has set his sights on becoming a raceday official. “My ambition is to become a starter in the UK and the experience I gain in America could provide me with a valuable foot in the door,” he says.
NRC chief executive Stephen Padgett says: “The scholarships are a tremendous new initiative and, as one of the first to be awarded, this is a great opportunity for Ryan, who will be an excellent ambassador for the College. We look forward to hearing about his experiences.”
The IFHRA scholarships are funded by the HH Sheikh Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, which is based in Abu Dhabi, and Ryan’s programme has been arranged by Remi Bellocq, executive director of the North American Racing Academy.
For further information call Sarah Beattie, NRC marketing co-ordinator, on 01302 861029.