The British Horseracing Authority (BHA)’s Head of Stewarding Paul Barton has today announced that he will be retiring from the role at the end of 2017 and calling time on a career in horseracing spanning over 45 years.
Paul, 63, was promoted to the BHA’s Head of Stewarding role in March 2013 following 22 years of experience of officiating at racecourses for the Jockey Club, Horseracing Regulatory Authority and BHA. In total by the time of his retirement he will have been officiating on behalf of the sport’s regulator for nearly 27 years.
Prior to his time as a stipendiary steward Paul was a successful Jump jockey for 15 years, riding in excess of 350 winners, including a career highlight when riding Peter Scott to victory in the 1979 Welsh Grand National.
In his time at the BHA Paul has been responsible for modernising several aspects of stewarding, including the restructure of the raceday stewarding and the introduction of the stewards secretary role, as well as working towards the implementation of improved technology to assist raceday stewarding decisions.
Paul has announced his retirement more than six months before he will leave the organisation on 31 December, in order to allow sufficient time for the BHA to put in place a process to find his successor.
Jamie Stier, Chief Regulatory Officer for the BHA, said:
“We would like to congratulate Paul on his forthcoming retirement and thank him for his long and distinguished service to the racing industry, both as a jockey and a Steward.
“Paul has brought a great many qualities to his role, in particular a calmness, stoicism and clarity of thought which have been invaluable during the many and varied incidents which he has faced during his time in charge of the stewarding team. However, of his many attributes the one which stands out most to me is the fairness which Paul afforded all those who he had dealings with in the discharging of his responsibilities.
“He is forthright and has always stood up to be counted when required, and for this he has earned the admiration of all his colleagues and those who he has been responsible for regulating. His contribution will be greatly missed by all at the BHA and he leaves big shoes to fill. Paul has our best wishes for the future and we wish him luck in his endeavours to reduce that golf handicap.
“It is time for us to now look to the future. We will commence the process to find the next Head of Stewarding who will be responsible for the future leadership, structure and policies around stewarding in Britain.”
Paul Barton said:
“I am most grateful to the BHA for having given me the responsibility to head up the Stewarding team which, despite the challenges the position brings with it, I have thoroughly enjoyed. I appreciate the support I have been given while I have been in role from the entire BHA, but particularly from all those in my team – it cannot have always been easy for them.
“My decision to retire is a simple one, from a personal perspective I have, after a lot of consideration, decided that I have reached a time in my life when I would like to be able to spend some more time with my family and give more time to my other interests.
“While I consider that the time is right for me to step down from the Head of Stewarding role, I will do whatever I can to support and promote the aspirations of the BHA in their continued drive to uphold the integrity of the sport which has been so good to me.”