Today (2nd April 2024), Autism in Racing will be marking World Autism Awareness Day at Pontefract Racecourse, with a free Autism Family Friendly Raceday, with lots of staff and support for families to enjoy a day at the races. Autism in Racing was founded in 2021 by horseracing commentator, broadcaster and autistic champion, Bobby Beevers. The aim of the organisation is to create welcoming spaces for people with autism at racecourses and educate horseracing’s workforce and audiences about autism. Progress so far includes, piloting of a mobile sensory space at racecourses, plus the opening of a permanent sensory space at Ascot in March 2024 and several industry education events around the UK and in Newmarket.

Our Creative Programme Manager, Sarah Coleman, caught up with Bobby for an update…

S: You have made such an impact with Autism in Racing in a very short space of time Bobby, with amazing achievements including the permanent sensory room at Ascot which opened last weekend. Can you tell me about this and some of the most memorable moments of Autism in Racing so far?

B: Yeah, so we’re delighted that Ascot racecourse have opened up a permanent centre, they’re actually the third racecourse to do this now.

Cheltenham was first out of the starting gates by opening a permanent sensory room, nearly 2 years ago, probably about 18 months ago I think it was. Then Aintree also opened theirs up as well, shortly after and it’s great to see that Ascot have come on board as well and opened a permanent sensory room as well. As I say, the third racecourse to do this.

Yeah, Autism in racing is just gone absolutely brilliantly, it’s been an incredible journey so far, absolutely brilliant!

To be fair we’ve achieved so much in such a short space of time.

The real winners are the beneficiaries, and the people who are autistic, being able to enjoy horse racing, being able to come to the races for the first time, in a safe and supportive environment.

The concept is wanting careers in racing, we’re raising autism awareness across the sport as well.

It terms of a highlight, I think there are so many to mention, but I just think the bottom line is that every time we do something to highlight, whether it’s a workshop, raising awareness of autism, whether it’s going to a college and speaking to students, going to the racecourses and hosting autism friendly days for them really, so they’re all highlights really which is brilliant and long may it continue, helping autistic people the best way we can really.


S: If people want to be involved and want to support you and Autism in Racing, how can they do this?

B: So if people want to get involved and support us, I suppose the main thing is if you can drop us an email which is if you’ve got any questions or queries at all.

We are on social media, we have got an X account, and we’ve also got a Facebook account as well, both @autisiminracing.

We post a lot of things on there in terms of the racecourses we’re going to. #

We’re going to lots of racecourses this year, from Brighton, down at the bottom of the country, all the way up to Perth in Scotland as well. So have a look at a racecourse which may not be too far from where you are and get in contact with us, we’ll make all that possible and you know, organise for you to have a great day out at the races.

Come along, you know you may of wanted to go racing, but didn’t think you could before, but we’re making all this possible now to enable you to come.

So, drop us an email, contact us via social media and it’d be great to hear from you and let’s see how we can help you!


S: Finally, what are your plans for the future of Autism in Racing?

B: I think future plans really, are just to keep going, and keep progressing and year on year to just keep going up, and up, and up really. Just to keep getting bigger, keep getting better as well.

You know, just for example, we’ve got 24 racecourses signed up for this year, we’ve never had this many, and this is through racecourses contacting me saying they want to host an autism friendly day.

Let’s get more racecourses on board, let’s get more racecourses opening up permanent sensory rooms, which would be fantastic, let’s get lots of people who are autistic working within horseracing, as well, let’s host more workshops, let’s work with the industry, they’re all important – in raising autism awareness as well.

We’ve got some great partnerships, as well that we’ve collaborated with, these include:

  • National Autistic Society
  • Autism Together
  • The Racing Media Academy
  • Harrison College
  • New Beginnings

The list goes on really, as we continue to partner up with more autism charities and other charities as well.

Will Buick, champion jockey, is our first official ambassador, it’s great to have him on board, so for the future to continue to work successfully with him also.

And yeah, just keep going really, I suppose, keep achieving and just make sure we keep getting bigger and better year on year, and keep progressing.    



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