DEEPWATER Jockey Club has dedicated its recent Community Race Club of the Year title to longtime committee member Alex Robertson-Cuninghame, who died just days after the win.
Mr Robertson-Cuninghame had been a member of the club since 1953, serving as president for 17 years.
The club won the 2017 NSW Country and Provincial Racing Awards nod at a dinner held late last month at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel.
Club secretary Tricia Stack said of the 380 people there, “probably 340 had never even heard of Deepwater”.
“At the end, everyone did – and there were some in the room who said they’re coming to next year’s race,” she said.
“It was so exciting – the competition was huge and very successful.”
Ms Stack put the win down to the club’s unique character, which people such as Mr Robertson-Cuninghame had helped to shape.
“I think we’re quintessentially country,” she said.
“I was able to send a list of sponsors and committee members who have supported us for 25 years, which shows the longevity and steadiness of the club.”
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said the club had “absolutely scored a trifecta this year”.
“Between the 150th anniversary celebrations, the launch of a book commemorating the club’s colourful history and [the awards] victory, there’s a lot to celebrate in Deepwater,” he said.
He said the club’s recognition as the state’s best country racing community would provide great momentum in the lead up to the races on January 20.
“Racing in Deepwater has gone from strength to strength, with the passion and dedication of the local community only building across its storied 151-year history,” Mr Marshall said.
“I’m thrilled Country Racing NSW have officially recognised the hard work Deepwater puts into its races each year. It couldn’t have gone to a more deserving club.
“Thanks to the neck-and-neck racing, bustling community atmosphere, stellar food and iconic Fashion in the Field competition, I try and make the January races each year, joining throngs of pilgrims from across north-west NSW and southern Queensland.
“The January races are a must-attend for the region – each year, thousands pour into the town of 300 which highlights the level of respect racers, punters and socialites hold for Deepwater’s country hospitality.”