Barton farewell begins as head of stewarding works on course for the last time
After 27 years as an official, the BHA's head of stewarding Paul Barton completed his final racecourse shift on Saturday before commencing his next job as the BHA's interim head of stewarding.
Although the former jump jockey signed off from track duties at Newbury, where he was presented with a magnum of champagne, Barton has agreed to continue part-time in the leadership role pending the appointment of his successor and with the consultation into the future of stewarding still ongoing.
"I feel really lucky to have done this job but I don't feel emotional about this being my last day on course," said Barton.
"I have been treating it just like any other day. That doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed what I've done, it's simply that I take the same view as I did when I stopped riding. Once you've decided to move on you have to get on with your life."
Barton will now switch to a two-day week commitment to the BHA, with his work as the sport's principal stipendiary steward set to be assumed by Robert Earnshaw on a temporary basis.
Reflecting on his highs and lows, Barton said: "I've been fortunate to be involved in stewarding in a period when it has undergone its most radical evolution.
"I've had some bad days, and just as with a goalkeeper, they are the days people remember you for when you've finished. However, I love the Grand National every bit as much as when I was a jockey and I thought this year's race was fabulous.
"The BHA has done a terrific job with the Horse Comes First campaign. There has been great success in getting the jockeys to buy into how racing is perceived. I think when you saw them pulling up tired horses at Aintree it was obvious how far we've come."
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