NEW Chepstow clerk of the course Dai Jones says he will continue to use his son, jockey Ben Jones, as a sounding board after moving to his new post from Ffos Las.
In something of a transfer window merry-go-round within Arena Racing Company’s racecourses in Wales and the west of England, Jones has moved eastwards to Chepstow to replace Libby O’Flaherty, who has switched to Worcester Racecourse.
Jones’ old position at Ffos Las has been taken by Tracey O’Meara who has returned from Ireland after previous spells as clerk of the course at Fontwell and Brighton.
“It’s a bit like the Premier League transfer window, except we’re not quite in their pay league,” said Jones.
“I’m really looking forward to the role at Chepstow. It’s one of the great jumping tracks, with undulations and the hill that presents a real challenge in the racing. It’s a true test.”
One of Jones’ early decisions in the role he began on January 8, was to cancel Chepstow’s fixture on Tuesday (Jan 16) – what would have been his first meeting in charge - because of frozen ground after an 8am inspection.
It is the fall-out from abandoned meetings and unexpected conditions that Jones reckons causes clerks most headaches.
That is why he intends to carry on taking soundings from the weighing room from son Ben, a New Year’s Day winner at Cheltenham.
“To be a successful clerk of the course, you need to have a good team around you, and be able to have good relationships with trainers, jockeys and other stakeholders – the people who come racing,” added Jones.
“Having Ben as a jockey is helpful as he makes sure he carries back to me when something is not right. I find out pretty quickly when things are not done to the jockeys’ liking.