50 years in racing earn Buckley a top honour

Seamus Buckley at GoodwoodSeamus Buckley at Goodwood
Seamus Buckley at Goodwood

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Fifty years in racing have earned Seamus Buckley a lifetime achievement award.

The popular Goodwood clerk of the course will receive the accolade at the Racecourse Association Showcase awards next month.

Buckley, from County Kildare in Ireland, has been working continuously in horse-racing for 50 years, something first revealed in the Observer’s Glorious magazine in the summer.

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He started out as a jump jockey after moving to England aged 15. A racing injury sadly ended his career in the saddle, but he quickly began working in racecourse management.

Following stints at Catterick Bridge and Epsom, Buckley joined Goodwood in 1995 and has overseen the groundstaff operation at the course for 22 seasons.

His enthusiasm, obsession for perfection and infectious good humour have inspired the Goodwood team to win various accolades, as well as the admiration of many people within the sport.

Jockey Frankie Dettori, said: “I’ve known Seamus for years and he’s a top man. It’s a very hard job for him to get the ground right, especially when there are dry spells in the summer.

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“But he has years of experience and he’s a proper clerk of the course. He’s accommodating, is always listening to the jockeys and always doing the best for everyone.”

The Neil Wyatt Lifetime Achievement award, named after the former Jockey Club senior inspector of courses, was introduced in 2012 and is awarded by the RCA and Racecourse Groundstaff Awards judging panel to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the sport.

Buckley said: “I feel humbled and honoured in receiving this award and would like to thank everyone who has put me forward to receive such an accolade. I would also like to thank all the people I have worked with throughout my career.

“I feel privileged to have known Neil Wyatt all my racing life – he is such a wonderful man and has put so much into racing over many years and I look forward to receiving the award from him.”

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Holly Cook, racecourse services manager for the RCA, said: “This year, the panel were delighted to recognise Seamus Buckley with the award.

“They particularly highlighted his commitment and dedication to providing consistently high standards, his involvement in driving forward innovation for the benefit of the sport and his support of training for racecourse groundstaff.

“The panel commented that Seamus is a true gentlemen and a great example to anyone training to be a clerk of the course.”

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