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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Clerk's final working day spent in hospital after four decades at the scales

Charles Stebbing has retired as one of the sport's clerks of the scales
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Longtime clerk of the scales Charles Stebbing on Saturday spent what was supposed to be his final day in the job on a hospital bed but full of happy memories after completing more than four decades weighing jockeys.

Stebbing was forced to leave York early on Friday and finished the day in Leeds General Hospital due to the recurrence of complaints linked to a hand operation he received last year.

The goodbyes were therefore done at a distance, with Stebbing bowing out 41 years after he first took on the role of clerk of the scales.

"I'm 65 next April and have decided it's time to draw stumps," said Stebbing.

"I was first licensed as a clerk of the scales in 1977 at Plumpton on Easter Saturday. There used to be 16 meetings that day and they were short at the scales. I had three days of training and then off I went.

"I've had a marvellous time in the job. I followed AP's career, which was a highlight, and I weighed Lester Piggott, Peter Scudamore and all the greats."

Reflecting on some of the job's demands, Stebbing said: "Whilst it is the jockey's responsibility to weigh in, they do sometimes forget – and someone almost did at York on Wednesday.

"He went straight past the scales and was on his way back to the changing room when we shouted his name. Jockeys have so much on their minds that it's easily done. All of us have stopped them from passing the threshold and being disqualified.

"There will also always be jockeys who struggle to do the weight, especially with them now being slightly bigger, so we have to make sure the boots they weigh out in are the ones they intend to ride in. That's part of the job as well."

Stebbing added: "I certainly will miss the camaraderie of the weighing room. It's the centre of the entire operation and in this job you deal with everyone. I'll probably miss being centre of attention as well!"

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I followed AP's career, which was a highlight, and I weighed the likes of Lester Piggott, Peter Scudamore and all the greats

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