An Interview with Molly Hobbs - Office Manager at NARS
Molly Hobbs learnt to ride as a child and could not escape from being pony mad; this turned into a love of racehorses! After completing her GCSEs, A-levels and higher education, she attended the British Racing School in Newmarket. She worked on the Flat for a few years, travelling with her runners and leading up plenty of winners. After several different roles within the racing industry, nowadays Molly, 27, works for the National Association of Racing Staff (NARS). She has continued to study, recently completing the ICT Level 2 and is enrolled on the BHA Level 4 as well as for the Mentoring and Leadership course. Molly portrays how it is possible to mix working in racing with studying.
Did you have a horsey childhood?
Yes, I was lucky enough to grow up on a smallholding just outside of Worcester. We had a variety of animals, from your typical farm animals to lizards and tortoises. Riding was always a passion of mine from a young age. I worked every weekend at a local riding centre and was a regular at jumping and dressage competitions.
How and why did you get into racing?
After finishing school, I studied for a further four years at college, acquiring three A-levels and a Higher Education Diploma.
After completing my studies, I started working for Tom Dascombe before going to the BRS. I got into racing as I had always been so passionate about horses and wanted to work with them.
Which trainers have you worked for?
My first job in racing was for Tom Dascombe, who trains in Cheshire. It was a fantastic place to work to gain some hands-on experience before attending the British Racing School. (Unsurprisingly he went on to win the Lycetts Team Champion Awards in 2019.)
In 2015, I went to work for Charlie Fellows in Newmarket. I thoroughly enjoyed taking my horses racing all over the UK and abroad. I worked there full-time up until my children were born. I returned to work after my maternity leave, continuing to ride out in the mornings.
What was your best day in racing?
One of my best days was travelling my filly Moonlit Show to Fairyhouse, where she ran in the Blenheim Stakes Listed race. The weather was terrible, but she went on to win the race by 1¾ lengths. It definitely made the journey worthwhile!
What is your favourite racecourse?
Cheltenham Racecourse was a favourite of mine growing up. When I was younger, I would attend multiple race meetings with my Granddad, who was himself a huge racing fan. I have great memories from days there. You can’t beat the roar of the Cheltenham festival!
What is the best advice you can give about working in racing?
Take the highs with the lows.
In life and in racing, you will experience ups and downs. It can be frustrating at times, especially when you have travelled a long way and your horse does not run as well as expected. But racing has given me some of the best days and memories – travelling around this country and abroad with my horses, seeing them progress through the year and bringing back a winner – to name but a few.
What made you think of studying?
I completed my studies before joining the industry, achieving nine GCSEs and three A-Levels. I also went on to complete my Diploma in Higher Education, subjects included ICT, Sociology, Psychology and Human Biology.
However, I also had great opportunities to continue learning alongside my job. I always looked to further my career in the industry and completed my Level 3 as well as the secretary’s course at the BRS whilst working full time.
When did you get your present position at NARS?
I started working for NARS in September last year, after leaving my job at Newmarket Equine Hospital. I was looking for a full-time office position that still had a connection to the racing industry. Around the time I was looking, this role at NARS became available.
Please describe your role at NARS:
My role of Office Manager is very full on, and each day is different. I liaise and organise meetings with the committees we run, such as the Trustees, Executives, Racecourse Inspectors and Regional Committees. I also speak with the clerks of the course regarding the Racecourse Inspections that are completed throughout the year, and improvements that are made within the racecourses.
I answer the majority of calls that come into the office and follow any queries up with employers. I work closely with other organisations such as the BHA and Racing Welfare regarding some of the calls we have. Additionally, I co-ordinate the office diaries and organise the monthly invoicing and accounts.
On the whole, what does racing mean to you?
I couldn’t get away from racing, even though I stopped working in the industry. I would always want to know how the horses were getting on and follow them in the races they were entered in.
Racing has had a huge impact on my life, it’s not a job I wanted to leave, but I have managed to stay connected by providing support and advice for those still working in the industry.
What is your favourite drink?
Are we talking alcoholic? If so, pink gin and lemonade.
What is your favourite meal?
I make a lot of home cooked meals, but a roast dinner would be my favourite.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Athens was one of the most beautiful places I have visited.
What are your hobbies?
Baking and going to gym.