Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse says 'it's time to step aside'
Cheltenham's clerk of the course Simon Claisse is to leave his role before the end of the year saying it is "the right time to step aside" after more than 20 years at the helm.
Claisse, 60, said he plans to "seek new challenges within racing or business" having been involved with the Jockey Club for 32 years. He will be in charge for Cheltenham's Showcase meeting on October 22-23 before handing over to his successor, who has not been announced, by the end of 2021.
He said: "It has been an honour and a privilege to have played a part in the development and ongoing success of the racecourse and in particular the festival.
"Throughout my career in racing I have been blessed to have had the support of wonderful colleagues and teams who together with the horsemen have been instrumental in our and jump racing's success over the past two decades.
"Having clerked my 20th festival I feel now is the right time to step aside and seek new challenges within racing or business while I still have the opportunity to do so."
'Simon is the complete professional'
Claisse, who has also played a prominent role in developing other clerks in racing, held leading positions within the point-to-point community and pushed the establishment of bloodstock sales at Cheltenham, was widely praised by trainers and by the Jockey Club.
Champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls said: "Simon is the complete professional and has been a huge asset to Cheltenham and the Jockey Club. His skill in getting the ground right was exceptional and he could not have been more helpful to me throughout his time at Cheltenham."
Willie Mullins labelled Claisse a "pleasure to deal with" while Nicky Henderson added: "Simon has exemplified the two most important things in his role – he has always been incredibly helpful and always truthful. I have much enjoyed working with him and wish him all the best for the future."
A successor for Claisse is being sought by the Jockey Club, with Ian Renton, managing director for the west region, praising the clerk for his work while in the role at Cheltenham.
"Simon has succeeded consistently in one of the most high-profile and pressurised jobs in our sport, and I know I speak for his colleagues and so many within our industry when saying 'thank you for everything you have done'," Renton said. "We wish him happiness and continued success in the future."
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