Heaven & Hell – Sophie Able 

Sophie Able, general manager of Newmarket Racecourse

Sophie Able, general manager of Newmarket Racecourse - Credit: Contributed

Sophie is general manager of Newmarket Racecourse. She joined the Jockey Club in 2005 after moving to East Anglia, becoming the youngest racecourse manager in the UK when appointed MD of nearby Huntingdon Racecourse in 2008. Her roles include overseeing planning and delivery of 39 race days, and implementing conferences and events through the year, ensuring the best possible experience for all visitors on and off the track. She speaks with Gina Long... 

What is your connection to East Anglia? 

I initially moved here to work for the Jockey Club in 2005, but I have settled here in the 17 years since and I am very pleased I did. 

What is your East Anglian Heaven? 

I love the variety, from beautiful cities to the expansive beaches. 

What is your East Anglian hell?  

It used to be the A14 - I spent quite some time on there! Thankfully it’s now complete and my journeys are much smoother. 

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What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants? 

There are too many to choose from, I think we are very lucky in East Anglia to have incredible fine dining to cosy country pubs, there is always an option to suit your needs 

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?  

Blakeney Point, I really love that part of Norfolk. It is a special place. 

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year? 

Of course I am biased but it’s the fantastic racing that takes place across Newmarket’s two racecourses including the QIPCO Guineas Festival, The Moet and Chandon July Festival, and our fantastic Newmarket Nights. There is always something going on at our racecourses and we are very lucky to be able to host such world class racing.   

What's your specialist Mastermind subject?  

This is a tricky one I’m not sure I would want to be in that chair! Probably sailing, mostly because it's something I really enjoy. 

What is always in your fridge?  

Spinach and blueberries for my smoothies. 

What’s your simple philosophy of life?  

Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, always be kind. 

What’s your favourite film?  

Miracle in Cell No. 7, a Korean film that’s on Netflix. It’s an emotional rollercoaster but well worth a watch! 

What was your first job?  

I was a Pink Lady at York Racecourse, who were a team who helped to deliver their race days. My role was overseeing the customer information desk and looking after sponsors. I loved every second and knew I wanted the rest of my career to be in this fantastic industry. 

What is your most treasured possession?  

A chair left to me by my grandmother, although it’s so old I daren’t sit on it in case I break it! 

Who do you admire most?  

My parents who have been by my side for every step of my journey so far. 

What is your biggest indulgence?  

A lay-in as I rarely get one. 

What do you like about yourself most?  

I treat people as I wanted to be treated myself 

What’s your worst character trait? 

I have a tendency to hold myself to very high standards which, when there is a lot going on during our busy summer season, can sometimes mean late finishes and early starts. 

Where is your favourite holiday destination? 

Antibes. 

Best day of your life?  

My wedding day. 

What’s your favourite breakfast?  

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. 

What’s your favourite tipple?  

I’m partial to a nice glass of red wine. 

What’s your hidden talent?  

I am still looking. 

What’s your earliest memory?  

Perhaps not my earliest memory, but I have fond memories of being taken to Sandown Point to Point in North Staffordshire as a child by my parents to see racing. It’s perhaps what started my interest in racing. 

What would you like played at your funeral?  

Over the Rainbow – by Israel Kamakawiwo`ole. 

Tell us something people don’t know about you?  

When not on a racecourse, I love to be on the water and I am currently doing my day skipper course 

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?  

“You can’t do it” because I don’t believe this is true of anyone and I will always try and prove to them wrong if I can. 

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?  

Although I initially moved here for my job, I have made some fantastic friends and love the incredible variety of scenery and open space we have. 

What do you want to tell our readers about most?  

The pandemic reminded us all that we should all be kind to ourselves and those around us. We only get one life. You will make mistakes and fail but believe in yourself, enjoy the journey and don’t wait for the destination because every day is an adventure, so enjoy every second. 

Find out more at thejockeyclub.co.uk 

I am always looking for interesting people from Suffolk and Norfolk to feature in my Q&A. Please contact me at gina@hallfarmfornham.com or follow me on Instagram @ginalong_geewizz