- Quote: ‘We ask for God’s blessing upon all those who are involved in horse racing’ – Cartmel Priory Rev. Nick Devenish
- Quote: ‘If we all pull together, do the right thing, we will all get through this’ – trainer James Moffatt
By Andrew Atkinson
Trainer James Moffatt based at Pit Farm racing stables in Cartmel, Cumbria, says a ‘Monumental effort’ will be needed in the wake of racing’s lockdown, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
“With 19,322 racehorses in the UK it requires a monumental effort from racing staff up and down the country,” said James, one of National Hunt’s top trainers.
“Without their commitment and dedication, horses under their care face consequences which are too harrowing to imagine,” said James, who saddled Highland Lodge to victory in the Becher Chase at Aintree in 2015.
Racing has been postponed in England and Ireland, under the relevant governments’ guidelines: “The BHA set strict guidelines for every yard to adhere by.
“Cleanliness, social distancing and all other government advice is properly observed in racing yards all over to try to preserve the sport we all love.
“My point is, while working for the National Trainers Federation Council, I have spoken to many trainers nationwide.
“One thing that rings loud and true from those calls, and witnessing it with my own staff first hand, is how much I appreciate and feel proud to be part of an industry that puts our equine participants front and centre,” said James.
“Racing staff dedication is incredible, in the most trying of times.
“If we all pull together, do the right thing, we will all get through this,” added James, leading trainer at Cartmel, who saddled Altruism to victory in Cartmel’s Cumbria Crystal Cup in 2017, ridden by Charlotte Jones.
Cartmel Priory annually bless a horse in August, in a traditional service. Reverend Nick Devenish said “The blessing of the racehorse service at The Priory has become part of the tradition of the August bank holiday.
“It is a great community occasion, bringing churchgoers and visitors together, to give thanks for the wonder of creation.
“In that wonder we ask for God’s blessing upon all those who are involved in horse racing. It is one of the high points of The Priory’ s busy year and everyone is welcome.”
The Monks of Cartmel Priory were the first to instigate racing on the parkland at Cartmel, during the mid-15th century, that has lead to the final meeting of the season annually celebrated at service in the Priory.