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Career change

Tom’s Story

Tom Ryall has enjoyed a varied career within the racing industry, having started out as a work rider for one of the country’s leading trainers before taking on a fresh challenge as a trainee clerk of the course. Tom takes us through his career journey below:

I used to work for Harry Fry and I got injured playing football, I ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and I had to have it reconstructed so I got in touch with Racing Welfare once I had the operation and needed the physio side of things. I had to have three months off work with the recovery and it got me thinking of where I wanted my career to go as I knew I couldn’t be riding horses all my life.

Natasha came round to assess me for my physio and we had a chat about careers then. She gave me some background and some relevant websites to use like Careers in Racing and CATS. We kept in touch throughout the whole process of finding a new job. I was fairly lucky that a job came up that suited me that I was well qualified for. She was going to arrange for me to go to Newton Abbott but I ended up getting a clerk of the course trainee job for the Jockey Club.

I feel like riding at Harry’s has helped me to have a good understanding of the racing industry but as a clerk of the course there is a wide variety of skills and attributes needed so there’s quite a lot that’s new to me; I think having a solid background and foundation in a yard definitely stands me in good stead though. There have definitely been transferable skills I’ve been able to use; even with the race planning side of things, I’ve seen it from a trainer’s side to now planning on a racecourse what races they are going to potentially stage. I feel my race planning side of things is a strength because of my racing background.

I’m only a trainee so I’m still finding my feet but there is a certain degree of responsibility that comes along with the job. My biggest challenge is turf husbandry, I’d literally had nothing to do with maintaining turf or gallops beforehand so that’s my area for improvement, I’ve already been on two groundsman courses so that’s helped and that’s developing the whole time.

It is definitely the route I want to go down, I’m loving it, I’ll be at the Cheltenham Festival for all four days this year and I would 100 per cent recommend Racing Welfare to others in the industry whether that’s for injuries or careers.