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The clerk of the scales has an important role to play in any race meeting. It is their job to ensure that each rider is carrying the correct weight when taking part in a race. The clerk of the scales will weigh each rider and their equipment before the race, and then again after the race. They are also responsible for ensuring that riders are wearing the right colours, and that each horse is wearing any headgear they have been assigned, such as blinkers or a visor.
Though not directly involved in sports betting as such, the clerk of the scales has a vital role to play in ensuring the integrity of horse racing and allowing bettors to make informed decisions when placing bets. The issue of the weight a horse is carrying can have a huge impact on the odds offered, the value a bettor might see in those odds and the final result of a race. In a conditions race, for example, each horse only carries weight decided upon on the basis of aspects such as the sex of the horse and the age of the horse, rather than as any reflection of the form displayed coming into the race. All Grade 1 UK races are run as conditions races.
In a handicap race, on the other hand, horses are given weights to carry in an attempt to make the race a more even competition. Horses that come into the race in the middle of a winning streak will be given more weight to carry, with the intention of slowing them down and giving the less fancied horses more of a chance of winning. When placing a bet on a handicap race it is imperative that a bettor is able to trust the figures being given for weight, and the clerk of the scales ensures that this is always the case.