‘Bell lap’ for Kerry
Saturday, 31st December, 2011
By John Casey
When the curtain rises on the new BH harness racing season at Memorial Oval Paceway tonight a key member of the cast will sadly be absent from the stage.
Whether you knew Kerry Halliday as ‘Boots’, ‘Pud’ or ‘Doc’, the common denominator was that this giant of a man was a loyal servant to equine sports in the city and his absence leaves a gaping hole that will be hard to fill.
“If Kerry was on your team you were set,” close friend and BH Harness Racing Club Senior Vice-President Tony Camilleri said.
“He was a loyal friend - a straight shooter - you couldn’t wish for a better mate.
“It’s only now that people are starting to realise how difficult it is going to be finding someone to replace a man of his quality and ability,” Camilleri added.
Just on four weeks ago 56-year-old Kerry Halliday succumbed to a blood clot, leaving his family, friends, colleagues and the BH equine industry shattered by his sudden loss.
“He did take a tumble at the Nanua Picnic Races (on October 15) but that had nothing to do with his death,” Camilleri said.
“And the bastard has left us all with a big headache in trying to replace him - and he’d want me to say it just like that.”
For the best part of the last 25 years Kerry Halliday was a permanent fixture at the racetracks in the BH region, leading the fields out and shepherding all the winners home while looking resplendent in his red shirt, tie and white jodhpurs.
Numerous sympathy notices published in the BDT recorded how he would be remembered as one of the most respected horsemen in BH.
“Kerry has left a positive and lasting impression on so many people with whom he was associated in the racing industry,” read the notice from the St Pat’s Race Club and Silver City Cup Committee.
“Kerry served both race clubs as Clerk of the Course for over 23 years and was a much respected contributor to racing in our district.”
Despite his family having no history in equine pursuits, a love of horses came to Kerry during his days at Burke Ward and BH High Schools.
“He was forever at the numerous riding schools in the area honing his skills,” Camilleri recalled.
“He competed at Pony Club events, trained Gymkhana horses, owned others and basically was involved with every equine sport in Broken Hill.
“He was also heavily involved with the baseball fraternity as both a player and later as an official and he volunteered countless hours to that sport as well,” Camilleri added.
Employed for many years at the NBHC mine, others would recognise Kerry Halliday as the friendly barman at many of the pubs and clubs where he worked.
Tonight, drivers will wear black armbands as a mark of their respect for the man they would call on in a crisis and the feature event will be the Kerry Halliday Memorial Pace.
“There’s no doubt that everyone with a horse in the race would be quite happy to get their hands on the commemorative rug which has been made in Kerry’s racing colours of Blue and Orange,” Tony Camilleri said.
“Of course it would be special for me and my horse (Shay Shay Shania) is primed to run well.
“But even if I don’t win tonight I’m hoping there may be other chances to win a race named in his honour because I feel the club should consider making the Kerry Halliday Memorial an annual event,” Camilleri continued.
“Even still, it just won’t ever be the same at the track.”