Posted: 4th March 2022 | Back to news feed

Staff and students at Hartpury University welcomed jump racing’s most prestigious prize on Thursday, as the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Community Tour stopped by its advanced Margaret Giffen Rider Performance Centre on its first-ever tour of the region.

BSc (Hons) Equestrian Sports Science first year students Chloe Barnes and Marie Herron with Russell Marchant.

 The Gold Cup has been run and won at Cheltenham Racecourse nearly every year since 1924, although holding the trophy is an honour usually reserved only for the race winners themselves.

 As part of its efforts to strengthen community association with the Gold Cup, The Jockey Club decided to take the trophy on the road, visiting Hartpury and local businesses including The Suffolk Arms, Domaine 16, and Spirax Sarco, as well as Leckhampton Court Hospice and Bishops Cleeve School.

 The tour gave Hartpury University students an exclusive opportunity to have their photographs taken with the Gold Cup itself, hear about what it’s like to work in the racing industry from Cheltenham Racecourse’s The Jockey Club Community Project Manager, Andre Klein and ask their questions.


The event took place within the Margaret Giffen Rider Performance Centre, home to three Racewood simulators – ‘Margaret’ Racewood Eventing simulator, ‘Archie’ the MK10 Racing Simulator, ‘Hercules’ Racewood Riding Simulator and two Racewood RaceTrainers (Trigger I and Trigger II).  The facilities are not only used by college and university students, but also local jockeys.

 Hartpury staff were also keen to get in on the action. Programme Manager for Hartpury’s racing degrees Laura Friend joined fellow horseracing lecturer Saranna Jordan, a former staff member of Grand National-winning trainer Venetia Williams and 15-time champion trainer Martin Pipe, and Emma Davies, Programme Manager for the BSc (Hons) Equestrian Sports Science. Rosie Scott-Ward, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Hartpury, was also pictured with the Boodles Gold Cup as it arrived at Hartpury House.


Russell Marchant, Vice-Chancellor, Principal and CEO of Hartpury, said: “The Gold Cup is the pinnacle of National Hunt racing and a major part of the sporting calendar, particularly for us here in Gloucestershire.

 “The Community Tour is a fantastic initiative for people of all ages across our county to get up close to a prize emblazoned with past greats like Arkle and Desert Orchid, and modern heroes such as Best Mate and Kauto Star. We’re grateful to The Jockey Club for providing our equine students with such a prestigious and memorable opportunity.

 “We’d like to wish the runners and riders for this year’s Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup well and can’t wait to see who’ll have their name added to this famous trophy.”

 The Cheltenham Gold Cup is run on the New Course at Cheltenham Racecourse, over three miles and two-and-a-half furlongs with a total of 22 fences to be jumped.

 Rachael Blackmore could follow up her historic win in last year’s Grand National with a win in the Gold Cup, as she is set to ride the current favourite A Plus Tard.

 Hartpury University offers two racing degrees as part of its specialist equine portfolio. The BA (Hons) International Horseracing Business prepares graduates for the many commercial opportunities within global racing, while the BSc (Hons) Racehorse Performance and Rehabilitation degree equips graduates with the vital skills to achieve optimal racehorse performance including the knowledge required to return a thoroughbred to peak condition following an injury.

In 2021, Hartpury University teamed up with the British Racing School to add a new two-year FdSc Horseracing Industry degree to its offering, which allows racing staff to carry out their studies alongside work commitments.

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