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Day in the life of .... a Sponsorship/VAT Helpdesk Administrator

16 November 2015

About Me

My name is Grace Martyn, and I work on the BHA Sponsorship/VAT Helpdesk at Weatherbys. I didn't know much about the racing industry before working at Weatherbys (the odd flutter on the Grand National was my limit) – my previous jobs were working at a supermarket, a small family run business and an international computer supplies company. I started work at Weatherbys as a temp, but was then offered a full time placement – an opportunity that I grabbed with both hands!

Previous to my current position, I worked in the Racing Operations department, making Entries and Declarations for Owners and Trainers. This has proved invaluable to me, as I have a better understanding of the various aspects of Racing Administration.

Working at Weatherbys, I couldn't help but become more interested in the Racing industry – particularly when I see Jockeys wearing sponsorship logos at the course and especially when I have been actively involved in advising the Owner, Trainer or Jockey with their sponsorship agreements.

About The Job

Two days are never the same when it comes to Sponsorship and VAT! I advise Owners, Trainers and Jockeys about their sponsorship agreements and then register their applications. This may lead to the Owner applying for a VAT registration. For an Owner to become VAT registered through the Racehorse Owners VAT Scheme, they must have a guaranteed business income (that’s where the sponsorship comes in). Once the various criteria are met, we would then authorise the application, for the Owner to then proceed with the application through HM Revenue and Customs. With VAT registrations, the advice to Owners varies case by case, as one Owners situation may be wholly different to anothers.

I’m also involved in the administration of the ROA/Totesport Sponsorship Scheme. I produce various statistics for the ROA, and administer the Sponsorship payments to Owners with horses included in the Scheme. Owners Sponsorship logos must appear on at least one of the registered branding sites: Racing Silks, Rug or Attendants Clothing.

Jockeys may also register Sponsorship, for logos to be worn on their breeches and undershirt. Amateur Jockeys are able to register a Sponsorship agreement, but may not receive a monetary payment, as that would negate their Amateur status.


Knowledge of Racing is useful, but not essential in this role. You will need to have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office, strong organisational skills, and show attention to detail. Weatherbys pride themselves on the courteousness of their staff, so you must be polite with a helpful telephone manner. With this you will soon build a rapport with the Trainers’ Secretaries that we speak to on a day to day basis.

Being able to work to deadlines is crucial. We are always busy with Jockey Sponsorship agreements in the weeks running up to the Cheltenham Festival, and at Christmas.

My Advice

If this is the industry that you want to be a part of, don’t be afraid to try something new. Initially, you may not have the experience, but work hard, learn and ask questions - the more experience and knowledge you acquire, the more beneficial it will be to get you to the job you dream of.

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