Country award winners announced

Country award winners announced

Racing Article Staff

Hundreds of people have once again attended the Country Racing Victoria Awards, held on Saturday night in Melbourne.

Big winners were announced from all across the state, with Cranbourne Turf Club taking out the Country Racing Victoria Club of the Year Award.

CRV says the Cranbourne Turf Club received the honour because they are a very progressive club, with plenty of capital works in motion.

Additionally, they have strong ties with the local community, and make a point of holding community and charity focused race days.  During the 2018/19 racing season, they helped to raise money for a number of groups via race days such as Pinker Pinker Day, Do It For Dolly Day, and their Multicultural Night Festival.

Last season’s Cranbourne Cup Day was attended by over 5,500 people, which was up by nearly 1,000 people on the previous year’s Cup Day.

Geoff Whiffin, Chairman Cranbourne Turf Club, said, “We are delighted to win the prestigious award of Victorian Country Racing Club of the Year.

We were delighted to win this award back in 2010/11 as well, and on behalf of my fellow committee members, I would like to thank Country Racing Victoria and its Board for recognising what has been another fantastic year for our Club.”

The Donald & District Racing Club won the Community Club of the Year Award for their community involvement and engagement.  They hold six race meetings per year, and always make the most of them.  Last season, 1,171 people attended Donald Cup Day.

Penny Penfold, Club Manager Donald & District Racing Club, said, “It is a great honour to be crowned Country Racing Victoria’s Community Club of the Year. We are committed and passionate to thoroughbred racing in Donald and the Donald Community. To be acknowledged as Community Club of the Year is a wonderful reward for the staff and committee of the Donald & District Racing Club.”


bet365 Country Racing Victoria Horse of the Year

WINNER: Barry The Baptist (trained by Paul Jones)

Barry The Baptist had an outstanding 2018/19 racing season.  He had 10 starts in country Victoria, from which he obtained three wins and five placings.

Season highlights included winning the Warracknabeal Sheep Hills Cup, the Stawell Cup, and the Apsley Cup.  He also finished second in the Hamilton Cup, the Geelong St Pats Cup, and the Casterton Cup, and was fourth in the Ararat Cup.

Trainer Paul Jones is based at Stawell, and winning his home cup with Barry The Baptist was a huge thrill.  Paul describes the horse as being lovely to handle, and as a bit of a homebody who likes the quiet.

WATCH – Barry The Baptist wins the Stawell Cup

Red Tomato Neville Wilson Medal for Country Racing Victoria Jockey of the Year

WINNER: Linda Meech

Linda Meech had 577 rides in country Victoria during the 2018/19 racing season.  She obtained 114 wins, 75 seconds, and 86 thirds (including one dead heat).  Her rides earnt $2.45 million in prizemoney, and she finished the season with a strike rate of 19.76 percent.

Her premiership win was made all the more remarkable by the fact that she suffered a broken collarbone in April, which meant she couldn’t ride for two months.

Linda also won the overall Victorian Jockeys Premiership for the 2018/19 racing season, making her the first woman to do so.


TAC Country Racing Victoria Apprentice Jockey of the Year Award

WINNER: Teodore Nugent

Apprenticed to Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Teodore Nugent rode 525 horses in country Victoria during the 2018/19 racing season.

From these rides, he obtained 70 wins (including one dead heat), 59 seconds, and 63 thirds.  His rides earnt $1.48 million in prizemoney, and he finished the season with a strike rate of 13.33 percent.

St Andrews Beach Brewery George Hanlon Trophy

WINNER: David Hayes, Ben Hayes, and Tom Dabernig

The David Hayes, Ben Hayes, and Tom Dabernig team had 989 starts in country Victoria during the 2018/19 racing season.  They obtained 158 wins (including one dead heat), 141 seconds (including two dead heats), and 123 thirds.  Their horses earnt $3.95 million in prizemoney, and they finished the season with a strike rate of 15.98 percent.


Melbourne Parkview Hotel Tony Shanahan Award for Services to Country Racing Victoria

WINNER: Carl Barry

Carl Barry has been committed to the Great Western Racing Club committee for 37 years, including spending the past 18 years as Club President.

He first joined the Great Western Racing Club committee in 1981, after recently settling into the Great Western Township.  As a qualified carpenter, his skills were a great addition to the committee.

Between 1981 and 1999, he performed numerous roles at the Club, including organising all building maintenance works, watering the race track, performing general maintenance, and working as the bar manager – all of which he did on a voluntary basis.

In late 2000, Carl became President of the Great Western Racing Club, and ably guided the Club through a number of challenges.  Additionally, he became the track manager on a voluntary basis, and did an outstanding job, even when faced with droughts in the region.

In 2009, Carl was elected to the Board of the Wimmera Racing Club.  He still holds that position to this day, along with his positions at Great Western.

Kelly Sports Country Racing Victoria Event of the Year

WINNER: bet365 Geelong Cup

Renowned as being a key build-up race to the Melbourne Cup, the bet365 Geelong Cup never disappoints.  It’s the event of the year on the Geelong social calendar, and is a terrific community event.

Last year’s #OurCupOurTown campaign was a resounding success, and was extremely effective at engaging with the Geelong community.  Additionally, the event had a strong attendance increase compared to the previous year’s event (11,608 people attended in 2018, compared to 10,535 people in 2017).

Daniel Salter, Geelong Racing Club CEO, said, “We are delighted to win the Kelly Sports Country Racing Victoria Event of the Year Award for the 2018 bet365 Geelong Cup.  This event was a huge success for the Gelong Racing Club and the whole Geelong community.”


Crocmedia Country Racing Victoria Media Award

WINNER: Adam Bourke

Adam Bourke works as a journalist for the Bendigo Advertiser.  His winning submission was a written piece on Bendigo trainer Graham Browney and his horse Big Roy, entitled “Bendigo trainer Graham Browney turns the career of Big Roy around”.

His story really captured what country racing is all about – a country trainer and his love for the animal.

Adam is a journalist who has become renowned for writing high-quality country racing stories, and he is a huge asset to the Bendigo region.

Unfortunately, Adam was unable to be there on the night to accept his award, so Aaron Hearps, CEO Bendigo Jockey Club, accepted the award on his behalf.

In addition to the nine formal awards, a special presentation was also made to Bill Gibbins, Managing Director and Founder of The Jericho Cup.  The inaugural running of the The Jericho Cup took place in December 2018 at Warrnambool, and the event attracted over 4,300 patrons to the racecourse.