A clerk of the course (COC) is an official in various types of racing.
In horse racing, COC has responsibilities from track management, site preparation, premises facilitating to race planning of an optimum fixture list.
So they are not clerical duty at all.
1942, John was born in Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia.
He was pretty well involved in racing from an early age and always had a great love of the sport.
1969, he took over as secretary of Cowra Jockey Club and within a couple of years he became secretary of several clubs in the area including Canowindra, Gooloogong, Grenfell, all at the same time.
1973, he was recruited by the Sydney Turf Club as Assistant to the then Racecourse Manager.
1975, he was appointed Racecourse Manager in charge of Rosehill and Canterbury, after the retirement of his former boss.
1994 August, he retired and returned to Australia.
1995, he accepted the post of Racecourse Manager Royal Randwick with the Australian Jockey Club.
1998, he resigned to establish his own tracks consultancy business to a large number of clubs and organizations in Australia and overseas for several years.
2005, John started to enjoy his “semi- retirement”.
Career in Hong Kong:
Despite some controversy the sale was an outstanding success and has now become one of the highlights of the Hong Kong Jockey club calendar.
Current involvement in racing:
John’s current involvement in the industry nowadays is in the breeding side of the game.
He was for quite some time involved with Tyreel Thoroughbred Stud, formerly owned by the Chairman of the Sydney Turf Club and racing statesman Jim Fleming.
He was their International Representative and as their “meet and greet” or client liaison at major thoroughbred sales in Australia and New Zealand.
Tyreel stud is now in the hands of the late Mr Flemings son Dean, together with John’s association continued for 13 years until 2010.
For the past 8 years John have enjoyed a similar role with Eliza Park International, the leading thoroughbred stud in Victoria now owned by Sun International Hong Kong. This association continues today.
“Patrons” – Benefactors during his career
John thinks he was most fortunate in his career at the Sydney Turf Club of 17 years in having a number of great chairmen in charge.
But he firmly believes the late Jim Fleming was one of the greatest racing administrators he had ever met and had possibly the greatest impact on whatever success he enjoyed in the industry.
Greatest in John’s remarks:br>
Trainers:- Ivan Allan was an absolute genius, he would have been a champion in any racing jurisdiction in the world.
Jockeys:- Mick Kinane, Basil Marcus, Brent Thompson.
Memorable Happenings In Hong Kong:
The surface when it was good was excellent but when it was bad it was a disaster resulting in the HKJC’s decision to replace it with its current American style dirt surface.
Best Advice Ever Given:
The most valuable piece of advice he ever received during his 40 plus Years in the industry was many years ago during his early days at Rosehill given to him by the then Chairman of the STC the late Sir Clyde Kennedy. He said to John:
“John, we can build all the great grandstands in the country, but remember this
NO STAGE – NO PLAY….in your case your track is your stage, Good Luck!”
His late father once told John, ” you will catch more flies with a teaspoon of honey than you will with a bucketful of vinegar.”
It has served John well in the past!
Acknowledgement To Mr John Jeffs for supplying and verifying data.