I heard on the radio last night one of them was injured at Ripon and taken to hospital – I hope he’s ok.
Anyhow, who are these people, are they employed as salaried staff by the BHA or are they like some wandering band of brothers travelling up and down the country being hired on a day to day basis by the courses?
Also, as I don’t watch much flat racing this maybe common but I saw last week a horse being led (if that’s the right word) backwards towards the stalls before quickly being whipped round and put straight in. I thought this was quite clever. What other tricks do they get up to?
Yes, animal psychology seems only one aspect of their armoury doesn’t it!
A highly admirable bunch of fella’s whose talents and importance to racing can sometimes be underestimated.
The handler injured at last evening’s Ripon incident is the father of ex-jockey Gary Parkin. I haven’t heard any update of his condition, but apparently was joking with ambulance staff even though he was bordering on unconsciousness. Shows the stoicism and toughness of these lads.
From what I saw, he had lead a reluctant horse into the stall when that horse suddenly went berserk inside.
According to a report in the RP, John Parkin underwent checks and scans on his jaw, leg and neck but is OK and was due to released from hospital today.
He is employed by RaceTech.
Until 2005 they enjoyed a monopoly position for stall handling but Arena Leisure broke away and decided to employ their own handlers at their own tracks.
This prompted a misguided "strike" by senior jockeys at Wolverhampton in support of the closed shop. Seb Sanders was the only senior jockey to ride having been ordered to do so by his retainer Sir Mark Prescott.
We were promised carnage at the stalls,including by several posters on this forum, but this never happened.
Most of the Arena handlers seem to live in the Wolverhampton area and travel together but I cannot comment for RaceTech