11 Nov 2005 Pre-2014 Releases

New Inspector of Courses Appointed

Published: 11 November 2005


The Jockey Club has appointed Chris Dennis, currently a part-time Starter, as the new Inspector of Courses to succeed Ron Barry who retires after 19 years with the Jockey Club in April 2006. Chris will take on the new role full time after the Grand National Meeting, after several months working alongside Ron.

He will be sharing the responsibility for 60 racecourses and 120 Point to Point courses with Richard Linley, the Senior Inspector of Courses, Nicky Carlisle and Peter Hobbs, but with special responsibility for 18 courses in the North.

Tony Goodhew, the Jockey Club Director of Racecourse Licensing and Standards, explained:

“Ron Barry’s service to the Jockey Club cannot be underestimated – over 19 years he has brought to the job a depth of knowledge based around turf husbandry and his considerable riding experience, and the Clerks of the Course in the north will testify not only to his thoroughly professional approach but the ease with which one could work with him.

“In Chris we have found a young and enthusiastic replacement who has grown up around horses and on the land. Having been a jockey for 10 years he’s got the riding experience I view as central to the role of a racecourse inspector – knowing about turf management and knowing how a course rides gives an invaluable perspective on the siting of a fence or the layout of a running rail on a bend, for example.”

Chris Dennis said of his appointment: “I am looking forward to this new challenge. Having been a Starter, a rider and having trained point-to-pointers, I’ve seen many sides of the fence in racing and all the experience I’ve gained through those jobs can be put to good use as a Course Inspector.”

Chris, 37, was a conditional jockey for 10 years and his employment in racing yards included working for Gordon Richards. Since 1994 he has run his own livery yard, breaking in yearlings for the Flat as well as store horses for National Hunt racing. From this livery yard he has trained over 40 Point-to-Point winners. He has also acted as a Clerk of the Course for two point-to-points each year at Witton Castle which involved fence building and ground maintenance. Since November 2004 he has been employed by the Jockey Club as a part-time Starter based in the North.

As an Inspector of Courses his responsibilities will include checking courses for compliance with Jockey Club standards relating to the racing surface, running rails, fences, hurdles, stables etc. as well as making visits to racecourses or Point to Point courses in response to an emergency problem or a specific request for advice.