IWD2023: Libby O’Flaherty- A Friend, Mentor And Inspiration


08 March 2023

Arena Racing Company’s (ARC) longstanding commitment to training and developing new Clerks of the Course is much valued by the sport. This sense of gratitude is replicated by the people themselves and none more so than Rebecca Smith, a current trainee Clerk of the Course who is mentored by Libby O’Flaherty, ARC’s Regional clerk of the course in the South West based at Chepstow.

Libby’s career with ARC began at Wolverhampton Racecourse and saw her rise to Head Groundsperson before entering the Clerk of the Course training scheme. Since 2018, Libby has been the Clerk of the Course at Chepstow before recently expanding her remit in the region. With this responsibility comes nurturing new talent, such as current trainee Clerk at Chepstow Rebecca Smith. 

“I’m lucky to work alongside by mentor and colleague Libby O’Flaherty at Chepstow” says Rebecca. “She’s a great role model and I haven’t come across anyone more dedicated than Libby. She works incredibly hard and will do everything she can to produce the optimum turf and quality of race meeting.”

Of the 47 fully qualified Clerks of the Course working across British racecourses, ten are women. The RCA’s team to support Clerks of the Course is currently staffed by three women within our Executive Team: Caroline Davies (Racecourse Services Director), Holly Cook (Racecourse Services Manager) and Tabby Killingbeck (Racecourse Services Executive). It’s a profession that is open to all. 

“The RCA Racecourse Services team is delighted to support the training and accreditation for racecourse groundstaff and Clerks of the Course, through the formal training programmes with the GMA and BHA, as well as our seminars, workshops and other opportunities to collaborate and share best practice” says Holly Cook. “Great Britain saw the appointment of the world’s first female Clerk of the Course, and Libby and Rebecca, along with a number of other experienced female Clerks of the Course, now follow in her footsteps, with more currently undertaking the training programme.”

This experience and progression has served Libby well as she now shares this with her trainees, including Rebecca Smith. “As a female trainee clerk, she has provided me with so much guidance and support, all alongside devoting herself to her actual job. Her ambition and knowledge shared to help us all to succeed gives us all motivation. She is genuine, a great person and a fantastic role model.”

Chepstow Racecourse

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