FOR the second time in six years, Muswellbrook is home to the Country TAB Race Club of the Year after the organisation claimed the prestigious crown at the 2018 NSW Country and Provincial Racing Awards on Friday night.
The winners, of the various categories, were announced at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney and acknowledged for making a significant contribution to the industry.
Muswellbrook Race Club’s latest triumph follows its success from 2013.
And, CEO Duane Dowell was grinning from ear-to-ear.
“I’m very happy with the result,” he said.
“It’s terrific recognition for the hard work of all the staff here in town.
“I’m aided by a very supportive committee, too, which definitely helps.
“Helen Sinclair was the CEO in 2013, so this award is pretty special for me as it’s the first one on my watch.
“I must praise the other nominees (Murrumbidgee Turf Club, Sapphire Coast Turf Club and Tamworth Jockey Club), as they’re all doing good things as well.
“However, this is my dream job.”
While elated with the acknowledgement, Dowell said the club wouldn’t rest on its laurels.
“We have to keep improving – and I believe we’re doing that, from our race days to social media,” he told the Chronicle.
“It’s our strength at the moment.
“Over the past 12 months, we’ve also tried to entice people back to the races.
“That can often be a huge challenge.
“But, we promote our meetings as an enjoyable day out for the family, with free entry on most occasions and plenty of children’s entertainment from jumping castles to face painting.
“The recent Ladies Day drew one of the biggest crowds in years.
“So, the club does that well.
“It’s not just about the horses.
“We want to attract visitors to town – and keep Muswellbrook relevant.”
Scone mentor Brett Cavanough collected Country Trainer of the Year, while his galloper The Monstar was named Country Horse of the Year.
The late Noel Leckie received the Simon Nivison Special Achievement Award posthumously.
• Simon Nivison Special Achievement Award: Noel Leckie
• Country Horse of the Year: The Monstar
• Country TAB Race Club of the Year: Muswellbrook Race Club
• Community Race Club of the Year: Narrandera Race Club
• Outstanding Achievement Award: Shoalhaven City Turf Club
• Outstanding Achievement Award: Coonamble Jockey Club
• Country Trainer of the Year: Brett Cavanough
• Country Jockey of the Year: Ben Looker
• Country Apprentice Jockey of the Year: Cejay Graham
• Country Approved Rider of the Year: Ricky Blewitt
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