A TAMWORTH man got more than he bargained for when he ran into Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Tamworth Jockey Club on Tuesday.
Trading a suit jacket for an Akubra, Mr Turnbull was warmly greeted at the gates by his former deputy prime minister and current Nationals candidate for New England, Barnaby Joyce.
“Can I get I get in without a jacket?” Mr Turnbull asked a security guard, laughing.
Mr Turnbull and his former second-in-command fronted a media scrum as they were whisked to a VIP room, but it was a Tamworth 21-year-old who got the best seat in the house.
Mitch Salter, a primary teaching student at Newcastle University, was back in the country music capital for the race that stops the nation – that’s not just Melbourne Cup Day – and his gamble paid off.
Mr Salter managed to catch the attention of Mr Turnbull, before the two had a brief conversation in selfie-mode on social media app, Snapchat.
“How are you, Malcolm, mate?” Mr Salter asks the PM, to which Mr Turnbull asks him for his hot tip.
“Red hair, Red Cardinal.”
The conversation quickly became the centre of media interest, as out-of-town photographers and journalists captured the moment the PM and Mr Joyce went on the charm offensive to avoid a New England dark-horse victory.
The Leader caught up with Mr Salter after his 19 seconds of fame.
“My mum texted me this morning and said that apparently Barnaby Joyce and the PM are coming to the races today, so I said I’d send her a photo,” he said.
“I just stood in the middle like a brick house. I wasn’t going anywhere.
“Then I just asked him a couple of questions.
“It’s great to see him out and about being such a good sport.”