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A day trip to Weatherbys

During my research of racing colours to do my paintings, I became aware of Weatherbys Colours Department and the registry of colours and it's fundamental importance to British racing. As Artist in residence in the National Horseracing Museum I am asked many questions by visitors regarding racing colours. I felt I could do both jobs better if I had a greater knowledge of how Weatherbys operate; so it was time for some Personal Development. I mentioned the idea of visiting to my contact and before I knew it a day tour had been arranged.

Following lunch, I was taken to get an overview of the Racing Services Department, where vocabulary I had heard in the past began to be explained. Then on to spend time with the Ownership Desk Supervisor who talked in more depth regarding colours. She showed me historical registries and how their system had evolved from manually referring to spreadsheets. How they work closely with The British Horseracing Authority to regulate the sport and ensure fairness.

I moved on to the Race Card Department where they turn round the entire countries race cards, except seven, on a daily basis. In my quest for a solution to the labour intensive search for colours worn in a particular race, I had hoped the Race Card Department would have a database of colours that could be helpful to me. Sadly not, I was shown an impressive system, probably designed by a mathematician, that works for them. This felt like a finally tuned machine, where accuracy and time schedules are met. In the past this work was undertaken manually and collected by a courier to go to print daily. Whilst the new system is heavily reliant on technology running smoothly, they have saved a lot of painstaking work.

On to the Business Development Department where the different areas of business and their website shop was explained. I enjoyed looking through the archive of leather bound tomes. It was especially interesting to find the Jockey Club subscriptions ledger for 185? something, which had entries for the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales etc., as paid up members.

Thank you very much to the Weatherbys team who received me royally, a truly super day.

The old saying 'When you are having fun time passes quickly' was true of this day; I was surprised to see it had got dark by the time I was leaving!

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