On Saturday, 19th February 2022, Ascot Racecourse played host to “Autism in Racing” who brought a sensory unit onto site for a focus group of families with autistic children to experience. This forms part of the wider “Autism in Racing” pilot more on which you can read below.
With thanks to funding from the Racing Foundation and Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, Autism in Racing seeks to raise awareness of autism, educate racing’s workforce and customers about autism and create autism-friendly sensory spaces on racecourses. Autism in Racing is a further example of the sport’s desire to promote equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels.
The initiative was founded by horseracing broadcaster and commentator Bobby Beevers whose personal experience with autism led him to question how the power of horseracing could be utilised to raise awareness and ultimately support anybody with autism.
Under the banner of Racing Together, the sport’s community engagement collective, a collaborative support group was assembled to create and implement various roles to support Autism in Racing. The group is represented by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Racecourse Association (RCA), Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG), members of the racing media and includes cross-sport expertise from Arsenal Football Club, a recognised leader in this field within the football community.
In recognition of this initiative, our 4.10pm race was named the “The Ascot Racecourse Supports The Autism In Racing Handicap Hurdle” and the founder, Bobby Beevers, was invited to present trophies to winning connections.
Feedback from some of the attendees:
Just a quick note to say thank you for arranging Saturday …
I think the work you're doing is fantastic and both my son (the one with ASD) and his friend can't wait until their next trip to the races.
Thank you all so much for today. Heath (and I) have had a wonderful day, he’s still talking to grandma and grandad about it now
and is delighted with the gift bag, enjoying the pad now.
We’d all be quick enough to moan if something was rubbish, but it really has been lovely.
Ascot looks forward to hosting more “Autism in Racing” days in the future.
To find out more about Autism in Racing, visit: https://www.racingtogether.co.uk/autism-in-racing/