Molly Dingwall - General Manager of Haydock Racecourse
The newly appointed General Manager of Haydock Park, Molly Dingwall, took some time out at the end of a busy Carlisle Bell day to look back on her career in racing so far and chat about how she got involved in the industry.
Molly was the General Manager at Carlisle for four years, previously managing festivals and events while in university as well as a few nightclubs, and her journey into the racing industry started when the opportunity came up at Perth Racecourse, combining her love of events and horses. “I already loved racing so I just thought yes!” she explains. “I had the first race day there and just decided that was it, this is my career, and I never wanted to leave because it was just too good.”
It is not too common to find people who work in the racing industry from a racing-orientated family or background, she says, “I’d never really thought about a career in racing as such, when I was in uni and was doing festivals and events it did take a little while for the penny to finally drop I guess and when I got that start up job with Perth that really solidified it and it’s 100% what I want to do now”.
A year and a half after working at Perth, Molly was head hunted by Aintree Racecourse, home of the world famous Grand National, to be a business development executive with an eye on Haydock Park, Carlisle and Aintree.
But only a year into her new job, a trainee general manager position job for The Jockey Club became available, as she explains; “I was working out where I wanted to get to and how I wanted to get there and the end goal was always to be a General Manager, this came up and it was too good of an opportunity to miss so I threw my hat into the ring and I think I had a lot of luck and they actually took me on!”
One year into her trainee program, The Jockey Club decided that a fresh faced 27-year-old Dingwall was ready to take Carlisle into her caring hands; “Carlisle in my opinion is the best small racecourse in the Jockey Club so I’m very fortunate to have done four years now, to now be moving on to Haycock Racecourse.”
A Racecourse General Manager’s duties include meeting and greeting guests who are coming for hospitality, general admission, owners and trainers all the way through to doing the accounts at the end of racing and everything in between; “One the the most exciting parts of my job is looking into change up our offerings to encourage more people to come and experience the amazing sport so there are so many bits that are a bit tedious but there are really exciting bits to it as well that I love”.
Not to overshadow the work of her side-kick and ‘branch manager’ Wiggle the cockapoo, who helps her keep the course in tip-top shape.
Reflecting on her time at Carlisle, even on a sunny day of Flat racing, it’s clear to see Dingwall is a jump racing fanatic through and through; “Watching Lostintranslation jump round here in the Colin Parker gave me goosebumps, I have never seen a horse jump like that ever before in my life! I think I was really attractively just standing there with my gob open like WOAH! He was just electric and we always see a really good renewal of the race every year.”
Molly’s enthusiastic personality shines through and her passion for racegoers, promoting the sport and building relationships with the communities local to her courses is unrivaled. Going on to manage a bigger course is a great opportunity for her as Haydock holds prestigious meetings on both the Flat and over the jumps, from the Grade 1 Betfair Chase to the Group 1 Sprint Cup. And most importantly of course, the trees around the parade ring offer ample work for the new branch manager!