RACING is headed for a busy and testing period after a challenging season, reckoned long-serving Hunter and North West Racing Association supremo Rodd Watt.
The Armidale solicitor, also president of the Armidale Jockey Club, was returned for another term as chairman of the HNWRA at yesterday’s annual general meeting in Tamworth.
Watt was returned unopposed with Quirindi Jockey Club’s Ted Wilkinson returned as treasurer and long-serving secretary Bob Scherf also returned unopposed.
“It’s been a good year but also a tough year,” Watt said.
“I do have to compliment all the clubs on their efforts.
“Muswellbrook achieved recognition and was awarded the prestigious honour of Country TAB Club of the Year at the NSW Country and Provincial Racing Awards in Sydney recently.
“Scone again provided group class racing on its two-day carnival with record crowds and turnover as well racing of the highest calibre.
“Tamworth also conducted a very successful cup meeting and completed its $3.5million extension to its facilities with the opening of the John Clift Stand.
“In addition Tamworth has also received approval for $2.25million worth of improvements to its course.
“The other clubs, including Gunnedah, Moree, Inverell, Walcha and my own club, Armidale, conducted very successful TAB an cup day meetings.
“The community and picnic clubs in our area also had successful cup days.
‘The reports indicate record numbers attended their meetings while Glen Innes also conducted its very successful one-day-a-year cup meeting.
“A number of people in the area also achieved outstanding success.
“Luke Griffith was the NSW Country Trainer of the Year (as well as the HNWRA trainer’s premiership winner). Greg Ryan, who rode extensively in our district was the most successful Country Jockey of the Year. Robert Thompson was also nominated in the same category and won our jockey’s premiership. Both these jockeys are a credit to racing and themselves and have been instrumental in raising the standard in country racing.”
“Cassandra Schmidt, who rides in our association from time to time, was the leading country apprentice. Country Horse of the Year was Ortensia, trained by Paul Messara at Arrowfield.
Luke Griffith and Robert Thompson will feature prominently when the Quirindi Jockey Club hosts the HNWRA Horse of the Year presentations at their Tuesday, November 12 meeting.
“All the members of the public are welcome to attend,” said QJC’s Ted Wilkinson.
“Entry is free on the day. We will be holding the HNWRA presentations after the last race.”
That meeting is the first meting at the track since July 28.
“The track is in good condition,” Wilkinson added.
‘That meeting is also the start of a busy period for us with a Christmas at the Races meeting on December 7 and then our big December 26 Boxing Day meeting.