When The Going Gets Tough...


15 October 2018

As Senior Clerk of the Course, Charlie Moore’s role and responsibilities at Uttoxeter Racecourse, are obviously extremely far reaching.

Now, racegoers will be able to delve deeper into Charlie’s world when the track hosts its first ever “access all areas” event on 18 October.

An action-packed programme has been lined up for visitors which will lift the lid on some aspects of racing life they never get to experience.

They include behind the scenes tours; vets’ talks about the anatomy of the horse; trainer Andrew Thornton doing a talk about ground and going and why it is so important; an interview with a leading female jockey and Uttoxeter’s Executive Director David Macdonald revealing what it takes to run a course.

And naturally there will be a focus on Charlie.

He will be joining jockey David Crosse to take visitors on a walk of the course and open their eyes to his key role at the Staffordshire venue.

Walking the course with Charlie on a cold, grey afternoon, it’s hard to imagine the sights, sounds and smells that will roll into town along with the runners and riders on the 18th.

But everything on the course itself -  the racing surface, the parade ring etc - will come under the beady eyes of Charlie.

And he will share that with visitors lucky enough to join him and David Crosse on the day.

His knowledge of racing is exactly what you would expect it to be.

His knowledge of this particular patch of land in Uttoxeter, however, is mind-blowing.

An hour in his company and you will feel, on the one hand, that you’ve had an in-depth insight into the world of horse racing, and on the other that you’ve merely scratched the surface…in the same way he does about every just about step of the way with his favourite wooden “going stick”.

Divots are pulled back and trodden into place, bare soil is teased back to green life, the going is intermittently tested.

He is now officially the oldest Clerk of the Course in the country; but what that level of seniority brings with it, of course, is unrivalled experience. Having left the army in 1989, he’s been a Clerk of the Course for 26 years now - 14 of them at Uttoxeter, and six as the Senior Clerk of the Course.

His enthusiasm for the role has never changed. “I still love it, and still get a buzz out of it. No two days are the same,” he says. “No two race meets are the same. And the other thing, or course, is that you’re dealing with Nature.”

So how many times does he walk the course? “On average, it probably works out about once a day. And I’m looking, looking, looking... And not just in preparation for the next meeting. But also for the line we’ll be racing in two meetings’ time.”

What every one of the visiting trainers, jockeys and punters wants to know, of course, is what the going will be like.

Another of Charlie’s responsibilities, he will use his wooden stick and the computer in his head to help determine this…but then rely entirely on a metal Turf Trax Going Stick before deciding on whether it is to be called “hard”, “good”, “firm”, “soft” or - heaven forbid - “heavy” (which is unsuitable for racing).

So, if you want to peak into Charlie’s world – and also take part in some of the other fascinating features lined up for 18 October.

David MacDonald, Executive Director at Uttoxeter Racecourse, said: “This is a marvellous opportunity for our visitors to delve into the life of a busy race track and find out more about what goes on in the areas the public seldom get a chance to experience.

“It promises to be a fascinating day and we are looking forward to welcoming a really good crowd.”

Uttoxeter Racecourse

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