TERRY Browne has taken the reins from acting chairman Mark Lowe at the Tamworth Harness Racing Club as the organisation prepares to move to a new $6 million facility south of the city.
The new independent chairman has been involved with the club for 30 years and has previously served as president.
Lowe stepped in midway through last year after Charles McCarthy stepped down and believes that Browne is the right man to lead the club into the future.
“Terry has a wealth of experience and knowledge and will bring stability to the club,” Lowe said.
The former Moonbi Public School principal is looking forward to the challenges and exciting times ahead for the club.
The new facility is set to be built on the corner of Burgmanns Lane and the New England Highway.
Browne and the board are hoping that the new track will be operating by the Golden Guitar Carnival in January 2016.
“The Golden Guitar carnival just gone was a huge success and I want to carry that momentum on,” Browne said.
“The new track obviously has huge potential and is huge for the club and region.
“Until then though I want to carry on with the high standard of TAB meetings.”
The club holds 26 TAB meetings a year at the moment and Browne wants to use that momentum and the new track to support other clubs in the region.
Harness Racing NSW is also building similar complexes in Bathurst and Wagga, with the Bathurst development almost complete.
The independent chairman position will become official today and will be a two- year contract.
Browne believes the Tamworth club has huge potential and can rival the big city clubs.
“Racing is one area that the country can compete with the city,” he said.
“Country clubs can be run more cost-effectively than the city clubs.
“Trainers, complex costs, and transport are all cheaper.”
Whilst the new track is bringing renewed and outside interest to Tamworth and the sport, Browne is putting local interest at the top of his list.
The club may run bigger carnivals in the future but will still always have standard race meetings.
“We have got to look after the locals and make sure they are viable,” Browne said.
“It was great to see local horse Soho Eros take the Tamworth City Cup in the carnival.”
With thirty years of experience at the club, Browne already knows many of the trainers, owners and drivers.
“I look forward to working with the local trainers and drivers that have beaten my horses home for the last thirty years,” he laughed.
Whilst it is still early days, Browne has some new initiatives up his sleeve for the long-term interest of the club and to reinvigorate the sport in the region.
“The first thing is always to maintain what is already working.
“I would also like to see the club become a bigger part of the community and create new ties in the region.”
The first meeting under the new independent chairman will be a day meeting at Tamworth Paceway on Thursday.