Memories flood back as medical man signs off

Mark Westley Photography'Dr Andy Mason retiries as Newmarket Racecourse Doctor after 28 years. ANL-140211-100350009
Mark Westley Photography'Dr Andy Mason retiries as Newmarket Racecourse Doctor after 28 years. ANL-140211-100350009

A leading member of the medical team at Newmarket Racecourses has over seen his final Flat meeting after deciding to call it a day.

Senior medical officer Dr Andy Mason worked his last meeting at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile on Saturday, bringing to an end 28 years of service in the role at both town tracks.

The 66 year old, who took up his role at Newmarket in 1986 from his late father-in-law Dr John Sadler, will hang up his stethoscope for good later this month following the final race at Fakenham on November 18.

“I wanted to retire at the top of my game and I hope that is the case,” said Dr Mason.

“It’s been a huge privilege to work for Newmarket. It’s the headquarters of racing and I’ve always regarded it as that. I wanted Newmarket to be the flagship course as far as medical services are concerned and I feel I have achieved that.”

While looking forward to a well earned retirement, Dr Mason who was presented with two annual badges for the next 10 years of racing at both town tracks, has admitted he will miss the role he has served for so long.

“I am looking forward to spending time with my wife and family and exploring parts of the UK, but I will miss the is the atmosphere of the big race days at Newmarket,” he said.

“Above all I will miss working with the horses. I have been around horses all of my life. They are such noble animals and I feel a great affinity towards them.”

During his time in charge at both town tracks Dr Mason has also served as a volunteer doctor with the Suffolk Accident and Rescue Service charity, something he first became involved with 40 years ago.

“Apart from horse-racing, pre-hospital emergency work has been my abiding interest and they dovetail really well,” said Dr Mason.

“There is nothing that can happen to a jockey on a racecourse that I haven’t seen in spades at the roadside.”

Throughout his career Dr Mason has built up a bank of memorable moments from his time spent racing but there is one he feels stands head and shoulders above the rest.

“Being the senior medical officer I got to choose which duty I will be doing for the day and the year that Frankel won the 2000 Guineas I decided to put myself in the chase car,” said Dr Mason.

“Over the years I have chased many races but I had never chased a race like that it was totally mind blowing to see Frankel start off the way he did before galloping them into the ground I could hardly believe it.”

Taking over the role left vacant by Dr Mason will be Dr Jeremy Webb, who works at the Orchard House Surgery in town, and Dr Ross Worthington, two colleagues he feels will carry on his good work.

“Although I have taken all the plaudits it really has been a team effort to get Newmarket where it stands to today,” said Dr Mason.

“I hope the team work continues as I feel I have left the role in safe hands.”