Racing Groom Ambassadors

jess-mclernon

Jess McLernon

Assistant Trainer

Richard Fahey Racing
Musley Bank, Malton

What training did you have to get into racing?

Luckily for me my family are steeped in racing history. I started attending race meeting from a very early age with my parents. I gained a huge amount of experience working for small local trainers in my area and from here I made the transition to Richard Fahey’s. The training I gained was a great starter for me and I have also attended the Northern Racing College and The British Racing School to further my education.

Who do you work for at present?

I am one of the assistant trainers at Richard Faheys in Malton, North Yorkshire. I progressed from a stable girl to my current role. I thoroughly enjoy my job and having a huge amount of winner each year is extremely rewarding.

Did you arrange any work experience before you started your training or job?

As a child I was an active member of the Duhallow Pony Club – learning the basic foundations here. From there I worked in local racing yards on weekends and school holidays and rode and trained my own point to point horse.

How did you find your first job in racing?

I wanted to work in a very successful training establishment. At the time Richard trained a horse called Wootton Bassett and he really caught my eye. I took the plunge and spoke to Richard and arrived in Malton the following week!

What do you do in your job?

I usually start at 6am daily (apart from work mornings – 5:30am) I meet with Robin (other assistant) and we go through the work board for that day. We lease with Richard to see his view on the day ahead. From approximately 6:20am the staff and jockeys will arrive, and we get started with first lot. Throughout the morning I speak to staff, jockeys, vets, farriers and deal with any issues that may arrive. Other daisy tasks include: arranging staff to go racing and leasing with office staff.

What do you like best about your job?

I enjoy the yearling to two-year-old stage. I like seeing how the two-year-old progress throughout the year and it is extremely rewarding when you see them get their head in front. I also enjoy seeing young staff progress, it’s a great feeling when a member of the team wins best turned-out, leads up their first winner or even rides there first winner on the track.

Have you used any of the industry support?

Yes! I have been luckily enough to have had great support from Racing Welfare and the NTF. Racing Welfare offer a huge amount of support to those who work in the industry and through the NTF I won the ‘Alex Scott Assistant Trainers Scholarship’ which allowed me gain further experience spending some time with Gai Waterhouse and her team at Tulloch Lodge, Sydney, Australia.

What awards have you won or been nominated for?

In 2018 I was named ‘Employee of the Year’ at the Godolphin Stud and Stable staff awards. Here I also won my category ‘Leadership’. It was a huge achievement and I am extremely grateful to Richard for nominating me.

I was also chosen as the winner of the ‘Alex Scott Assistant Trainers Scholarship’ where I travelled to Australia to gain further experience. This was an amazing opportunity and I am very thankful to the NTF for all the support they have given me to progress and achieve my goals.

I would highly recommend young racing grooms investigate the opportunities that may be out there for them and grasp them with both hands.

Have you done any other career development training whilst in your role?

Yes, I have attended a ‘mentoring’ course to develop my skills. This course was offered at my local Racing Welfare office conjunction with NARS.
Level 1 NCFE award in Mentoring. (East Riding Collage of Yorkshire)

What, if any, are your plans to progress your career?

I have recently completed Module 1 and 2 of the Trainers Course at NRC. I hope to keep furthering my education within the industry with one day a view to hopefully take out my own trainer’s licence.

What tips would you give to a person wanting to start a role as a racing groom?

Work hard, grasp every opportunity with both hands and dream big!

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