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A clerk of the course can refer to both horse racing and motor sport. In horse racing, the clerk of the course is someone who has to take control of all of the important decisions such as the condition of the course and whether it is safe to race on. This includes turf management and preparing of fences during jump events.
In motorsport, a clerk of the course is the designated official in charge of managing multiple aspects of circuit safety including deciding when to deploy and recall the safety car. In both instances, the clerk of the course has a vital role to play in the running of a sporting event with heavy responsibility on their actions.
As a clerk of the course is not an event or market, there are no betting markets available, however, a clerk of the course can the effect the outcome of a sporting event much like a referee in football.
For example, in motor racing, if there is a big crash close to the end of qualifying, the clerk of the course has every right to red flag the session, meaning no more lap times are allowed to be set and the current order is how the cars will line-up for race day.
That can have major repercussions on the betting market for the race, especially if one of the favourites for the race gets caught out and must start further down the grid than anticipated.
In 2001, the world-renowned Cheltenham festival had to be called off by the clerk of the course due to racings guidelines concerning the outbreak of foot and mouth. It was the second time that year after it had been postponed at the beginning of March in the hope that the event would be able to run.