CLERK OF SCALES .... SIMON PETCH

(@flemingtonvrc

16 June 2020

 


My job is ...
My job on course at race meetings is as a Clerk of Scales for Racing Victoria at all Metropolitan and Country venues in Victoria.

The best part of my job is …
The best part of the role is the travel and different tracks you work at during the week. The interaction with jockeys and other relevant parties on the day is very satisfying.

A challenging part of my job is …
This role has many different challenges. Our area is the nerve centre of information so getting all information out and correct is vital to Photo Finish, Broadcast and the TAB. Making sure all saddles go out to the correct stable representatives as well as the 30-minute gaps at country venues keeps you extremely busy on race day.

I love my job because …
The job is a specialised position at Racing Victoria. I enjoy the travel. I enjoy the interaction with other officials, of whom I can call some very good friends. This job has given me a career in an industry I have been involved with over many years. It is a privilege to do what I do.

My favourite career moment is …
Back in 2018-2019 I was given the opportunity by Racing Victoria to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. I graduated in September of 2019. The course went for 30 weeks and demanded a lot of work to complete units. This allowed me to officially train staff wishing to become Clerks of Scales. Courtney Pace and Abby Boyle were given the opportunity to be beneficiaries of the training and are now both working as Clerks of Scales at venues around Victoria. I have always stated that training Courtney and Abby for the role was better than working the job itself. I have been extremely proud of how they have approached the role and the enjoyment they are both getting out of it. Training up anyone for this role gives me satisfaction and to see how they have progressed is a credit to them both.

My career background is …
From an early age I always had an interest in horses and racing. I learned to ride at a stables in Mordialloc growing up, and the bug got me. Educated at Mentone Grammar, I left school after completing HSC and began working with my father in his printing business. I lasted there until an opportunity came my way to compile race results for Australian Associated Press which led me to Racing Victoria. I was given the opportunity to be trained as a Raceday Judge which I still do, and then an opening came up not long after to be multi-skilled and be trained as a Clerk of Scales.

I am setting my sights on …
My sights are set firmly on maintaining my role at Racing Victoria. I will continue to train staff as required and enjoy my role overall.

Someone who I admire (in racing or just generally) is … 
The person I admire most and have a great relationship with is Ray Benson. Ray, a former racecaller had his career cut short but was able to pass his knowledge down the line to me. The banter we have is always looked forward to when we see each other, although I win the argument. I will always go to Ray for advice no matter what the subject and he will always give an honest answer even if it is not what you might expect. The virus has cut short our meetings at the track and I’m hoping that will be rectified soon. Ray has never forgotten my two kids' birthdays, or mine or my wife Melinda. You can always expect a call on the morning of. Ray is honest, trustworthy and meticulous. Some of that has rubbed off on me and for that I am grateful. He is a very special person in my life.

My favourite racing moment is …
My favourite moment in racing occurred when I was extremely young but can vividly remember it as if it was yesterday. My father’s horse Wartax won the Kilmore Cup back in the late sixties. I remember being with my grandmother holding her hand as the presentation of the cup was about to be made and the then-heavyweight champion of the world Lionel Rose sashing the horse. I spotted my father and let go of my grandmother's hand and got under the fence and ran out to the middle of the mounting yard where the presentation was being held. I held my father's hand and still today have the official photo of the race finish and presentation photo framed.

A horse I have loved or admired is … 
Manikato was the horse. I remember listening to his first win at Cranbourne on Wednesday January 25 1978 on my bedroom floor with John Russell calling the race on 3UZ. From that moment I followed his racing career and had many opportunities to watch him race in the flesh. A beautiful chestnut with a motor like no other he drew crowds and pleased many. My real love of racing had already begun but Manikato was the first champion I saw.

I like the sport of racing because … 
There is no script in the sport of racing. On any given day who knows what will eventuate during the day and working in the industry this is the beauty of it. The ups and downs, swings and roundabouts it can produce makes it interesting in so many ways.

My job was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic …
The scales role was affected by the pandemic in a way that has never been seen before. Jockeys were separated into two groups hence the need for two separate scales rooms to accommodate the groups. All the protocols put into practice have worked well and building on this success is the key all over Victoria.

We overcame the challenges of the pandemic by …
The challenge had all Clerks of Scales working well as a team and putting all necessary protocols into place. The race clubs around Victoria and inner Melbourne need to be congratulated for the hard working effort that has seen racing continue.

In my spare time I like to …
I like to visit Anglesea on occasions and get out in the surf. Many friends remain down there. Golf is a game I like to play now and again as well as attend cricket matches during the summer. Shopping adventures especially with my daughter Rachna is always a hit.

The racing industry in Australia is …
The industry in Australia is in good hands with all organisations staying ahead of what is going on. The race clubs all as one have taken on major and challenging changes with so much enthusiasm and willingness to abide by protocols. That it is a major reason racing remains ongoing.