When you’re next horse racing betting you might hear word about the clerk of the course. This is an official who, during raceday, you’re probably not going to come across unless there is an issue with the horse racing environment – the racetrack, racecourse, jumps, etc.
Clerks of the course generally keep behind the scenes on race day, just as groundspeople in football and rugby keep out of the limelight.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not important to how a race day unfolds! So, what does a clerk of the course actually do? Paddy Power’s latest guide in our Demystifying Racing series gets to the bottom of it…
What is the clerk of the course?
The clerk of the course is the figure in charge of all grounds conditions at a race course. This factors in the racecourse or racetrack that the horses run on, and also includes additional features such as jumps, boundary fences, gates and stables.
The clerk of the course’s main responsibilities include:
- Assessing the course and deciding if it is fit enough to race
- Confirming the official going for the race day
- Preparing and maintaining jumps – both hurdles and fences – during National Hunt meetings
- Protecting the turf from overuse
- Overseeing the maintenance of the course in the lead-up to the race
A typical race day for a clerk of the course begins early, sometimes before sunrise. They will oversee the racecourse and discuss with the head groundsperson any repairs that need carrying out, or issues to be addressed. The clerk will also meet with the stables manager, to declarations clerk and the steward, and check over paperwork to ensure everything is correct.
WELCOME TO PADDY POWER NEWS!
During televised races the clerk of the course must check all cameras and commentators stations are safely in place. In effect, they are the overseer of the entire event.
The clerk is usually on hand to discuss the going with owners, trainers and jockeys. During races they generally take a backseat but are present to orchestrate any maintenance that needs doing throughout the day.
- Why are there false starts in horse races like the Grand National?
- How many horses are there in the Grand National?
- Grand National prize money: How much does the Grand National winner get?
- 9 things to consider when picking a Grand National winner
- Grand National fence names and the stories behind every Aintree jump
- How high are Grand National fences at Aintree Racecourse?
- What are Grand National fences made of at Aintree Racecourse?
- Grand National fences: Order of jumps, total and which are taken twice
- Grand National weights: Why do horses carry different weights at Aintree?
- How many people usually attend the Grand National? What is Aintree’s capacity?
- What is the distance of the Grand National? How far do the horses run?
- How does a horse qualify for the Grand National?
- When did a horse last win the Grand National carrying top weight?
- Do Grand National reserve horses ever run in the race at Aintree?
- What does it mean when a horse is On the Bridle?
- What is a Black type horse race?
- What are the different types of going in horse racing?
- What is a bumper horse race?
- What are blinkers and why do some horses wear them?
- What is an Allowance Race in horse racing?
- What is the difference between hurdles and fences in National Hunt racing?
- What is a halter and why do some horses wear them?
- What does it mean when a horse has spread a plate?
- What is the Rule 4 betting rule in horse racing?
- What is the difference between graded, handicap and selling horse races?
- What does a novice hurdle in horse racing mean?
- What is a listed horse race?
- What does a novice chase in horse racing mean?
- Why do race horses have different ratings and what do they mean?
- When does the National Hunt season start and when does it end?
- Why are there different grades of horse race?
- Why are there 3 different types of National Hunt race?
- Why are race horses given different weights and what does it mean?
- How many different classes of horse race are there?
- What is a claiming race and what do they mean?
- What is an optional claimer in horse racing?
- What is a shadow roll and why do some race horses wear them?
- Why do some races start from stalls and some not?
- What is the difference between Derby and Oaks races?
- What does it mean when a horse knuckles during a horse race?
- What is a stayer in horse racing?
- What is a yearling horse and when are they ready to race?
- What does it mean if a horse has won a point race?
- What does a maiden mean in horse racing?
- How are horses’ ages calculated and why is it not the same as humans?
- What advantages do apprentice jockeys get when riding against professionals?
- What is a conditional jockey?
- What does the term ‘connections’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear cheekpieces?
- Who are the stewards in horse racing?
- What does ‘weighed in’ mean at the end of a horse race?
- What is a nursery race?
- Why are some National Hunt races run without fences?
- Why are some horses given a tongue tie during races?
- What does it mean when a horse is ‘pushed out’?
- How are horse racing ratings calculated?
- What does it mean when a horse has a ‘wind operation’?
- How high are the fences and hurdles in horse racing?
- What is an apprentice jockey?
- What is a Bull Ring in horse racing?
- What does the phrase ‘Look of Eagles’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear a ‘weight cloth’ during races?
- What is the Triple Crown in horse racing?
- What is a Steeplechase race in horse racing?
- How high are the Cheltenham Festival fences and hurdles?
- Why is the Champion Chase named after the Queen Mother?
- Why does Cheltenham racecourse have an Old Course and a New Course? What’s the differences between the two?
- What is the Cheltenham roar? What difference does it make in races?
- Why are there no jumps in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper?
- How many fans usually attend the Cheltenham Festival? How big is the capacity?
- What is a juvenile in horse racing?
- What is a sire and a dam? Why is breeding so important in horse racing?
- What’s the difference between a colt, filly, gelding, stallion and mare?
- What does it mean when a horse goes to stud?
- What do horse racing commentators mean by sectional times?
- What is the Royal Procession at Royal Ascot? Which members of the Royal Family attend?
- How do they choose Epsom Derby stall numbers? Is there a draw bias?
- How long does it take horses to complete the Epsom Derby? How fast are the runners?
- How many racehorses does the Queen own?
- What is a stewards’ enquiry in horse racing?
- What does it mean when a horse is exposed?
- What happens when there is a dead-heat in horse racing?
- What does schooling mean in horse racing?
- How are horses named and who approves them?
- Men must wear socks and other weird Royal Ascot dress codes