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New clerk for Hackwood Park racecourse
8:00am Tuesday 26th February 2013 in Sport
HACKWOOD Park racecourse has appointed Richard Langley as head groundsman at Brighton, to succeed Bill Welling as clerk of the course, writes Robin Gray.
Langley, 40 in February, has been involved in turf management for 17 years and has been in charge at Brighton since 2010.
Most recently Langley was clerk of the course at Tweseldown, which has been forced to close due to lack of finance.
“That was a shock,” said Langley, “so when I was approached to look after Hackwood, I was delighted to accept.”
There will be no conflict of interest for Langley since Brighton stages only flat racing.
The two Hackwood fixtures are in March 17 and April 1, which is a quiet time for track maintenance at Brighton.
Langley added: “I went to the Hampshire Hunt meeting at Hackwood Park last year, and I can see that I will inherit a well- prepared professional looking racetrack.”
Welling, who has improved the Basingstoke course immeasurably over the last four years, needs to spend more time on his own farming interests, but he will be available to back up the new clerk of the course.
Langley farmed in the Midlands until 1996, supplementing that with part-time work at Wolverhampton racecourse. He then became fully involved with the National Hunt and point-to-point course at Wolverhampton.
Moving south to Kempton Park, which has both jumping and flat racing, in 2003, Langley was made redundant six years later.
Langley said: “Luckily for me, the vacancy at Brighton cropped up – and even better there was accommodation on the premises to go with the job.
“In principle, I will visit Hackwood seven days prior to each meeting to give provisional going reports and check things over, then return the day before racing as well as raceday itself.
“Tweseldown was a top-class point-to-point course, and I aim to follow Bill Welling in producing Hackwood Park to the same high standard. I am looking forward to the first meeting on March 17.”