Princess meets jockey prospects

THE Princess Royal was in Suffolk yesterday to meet the champion jockeys of the future at a prestigious racing school.

Will Clarke

THE Princess Royal was in Suffolk yesterday to meet the champion jockeys of the future at a prestigious racing school.

Her Royal Highness was in Newmarket to see some of the latest developments at the British Racing School (BRS), and meet students and staff.

The Princess, a renowned horsewoman in her own right, quizzed bosses - including BRS chairman Nigel Elwes and chief executive Rory MacDonald - at the school about prospects for young talent in the horse racing industry.

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She was accompanied on her tour by Lord Tollemache, the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, and they were briefed on the school's work before meeting students at the Newmarket Technology Centre and at the racehorse simulator.

Afterwards she had a chance to meet students on the school's nine-week apprenticeship course as they were put through their paces in one of the school's indoor training areas.

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Taking time to talk to every pupil she also spoke in detail with course tutors about the challenges facing the youngsters.

She also followed students from the comfort of her car where she could watch them take their horses on a one mile gallop.

Darren O'Dwyer, 25, who collected the 2009 best advanced apprentice award from the Princess, said: “It is great honour to receive this award and it was exciting to meet the princess. She is very knowledgeable and she understands the hard work which goes into it.”

James Harding, 16, who talked to the Princess about his studies for his NVQ in racehorse care, said: “It was very interesting to meet her and she showed a lot of interest in the horses.”

Rory MacDonald, BRS chief executive, said: “It is 25 years since Prince Charles opened the school so it is an important anniversary for us and we are privileged the Princess has come here.

“It has been a great experience for the students, which has not just made their day but also their year. It has been very special.”

The Princess, who travelled by helicopter, also spent time visiting the nearby Animal Health Trust.

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