“I enjoy the variety and challenge of each day and the prestige of being one of only a handful of Racecourse Head Groundsmen in the country”
Carl Tonks – Head Groundsperson
My day usually starts with a team debrief, discussing if anything has been noticed overnight (damage, etc) and then job allocations for the day. It also includes processing any orders or general paperwork, along with the dealing of issues as and when they arise, which will also include non-racing events, building maintenance contracts, servicing and repairs.
Before working at Ripon Racecourse I was at agricultural college, where I realised the farming industry wasn’t for me. So, I used my tractor driving experience to join the horseracing industry.
I started my career as a raceday casual (Security Officer) before becoming a full time Groundsperson with Jockey Club Racecourse, gaining Institute of Groundsmanship certificates through the years.
I enjoy the variety and challenge of each day and the prestige of being one of only a handful of Racecourse Head Groundsmen in the country. The horseracing industry is part of my extended family and I think that’s why so many of us are passionate about it, whatever part of the industry you work in.
For anybody considering a career within racing I would suggest volunteering to do anything you can, as experience is key. Knowledge of any aspect of the industry is also useful when dealing with people and an understanding of their position is helpful in negotiating positive out-comes and solutions.