‘The Clockman’ Donovan Cunningham remembered as an astute horseman
Donovan ‘The Clockman’ Cunningham, renowned tipster and long-serving clocker at Caymanas Park, was remembered as one of the most astute horsemen in Jamaica at a thanksgiving service on Friday held at Perry’s Funeral Home Chapel in Spanish Town, St Catherine.
Cunningham, who had been associated with the sport of horsing racing for many years, also worked at the RJRGLEANER Communications Group where he played a significant role in the racing publication Track & Pools.
He collapsed while at work on December 21 and was rushed to hospital where he later died.
Ainsley Walters, who grew up with him and in later years became his immediate supervisor on the Track & Pools desk at The Gleaner, gave a moving tribute to Cunningham.
Walters remembered the late Cunningham whom he affectionately called Mark, the childhood name he was known by, as an astute data-driven individual whose dedication to his job was unparalleled.
“He started out at Caymanas Park and his intention was to become a jockey, he had the frame for it, but of course his mother would certainly not allow it,” said Walters.
This early resistance from his mother did not make him change his mind about his involvement in the horse-racing industry, according to Walters.
“He became a punter attending exercise gallops in the mornings and made a career of it,” he disclosed.
He said that in 1996 the late Cunningham gained employment as a clocker at Caymanas Park and eventually became the timekeeper.
“He would get up at 5 every morning to get to the track to clock horses and then report for work at The Gleaner Company.”
Cunningham became so involved in horse racing that he even worked in the photo-finish booth on race days.
Walters made reference to his tipping prowess which was reflected in the Track & Pools.
“People would call Mark from all walks of life asking him to impart his knowledge,” Walters noted while pointing to his ability to know each horse by sight and able to maintain a record of their exercise gallop without even knowing their names.
Even with his vast knowledge of the racing industry, Walters divulged that Cunningham was not a gambler.
“If someone would ask him for a tip and the issue of money came up, he would turn down the request,” Walters added.
He described him as playing a multifaceted role that makes him the closest person to be irreplaceable not only to Track & Pools but to the racing industry at large.
Walters suggested that a two-year old feature race dedicated to his memory and a trophy named after him be presented in his honour.