HATS off to Jonathan Dimsdale, who is retiring after 40 years as a judge at racecourses across the country.

Tuesday 29 August 2017

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HATS off to Jonathan Dimsdale, who is retiring after 40 years as a judge at racecourses across the country.

Mr Dimsdale, who lives in North Yorkshire, was honoured for his sterling service at Redcar's Ladies' & Gents' meeting on Saturday by chairman Lord Zetland and racecourse director John Sanderson.

He's been a judge at all the big races - including the Grand National and Derby - but he says his highlight was being the judge at the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup when Michael Dickinson trained the first five home: Bregawn, Captain John, Wayward Lad, Silver Buck and Ashley House.

"I've been very privileged to see so much over 40 years," he said.

But what turned out to be such an illustrious career had a pretty catastrophic beginning. In the early days, Mr Dimsdale was the judge at the old Stockton racecourse, now the site of Teesside Retail Park. Somewhat distracted, he didn't spot the jockeys leaving the weighing room, and they'd gone a full circuit in a jumps race before he realised.

He had a to run as fast as a six furlong sprinter to get across the course and climb an old viewing tower to get into position in time for the finish.

"Let's just say I was a bit puffed out," he recalled.

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