Harness club shines
Saturday, 2nd November, 2013
By By Ethan James
The glowing recommendation of a music star helped Broken Hill Harness Racing Club to claim top honours at the NSW Harness Industry awards in Sydney last weekend.
Former Australian Idol finalist Shannon Noll performed at the St Patrick’s Day weekend race this year which attracted a crowd of more than 3000 to the Memorial Paceway.
According to HRC Senior Vice-President, Tony Camilleri, Noll left Broken Hill after having the “time of his life”.
“He was overwhelmed by the crowd and participation,” Mr Camilleri said.
“I remember he drove the mini-trotter and couldn’t wait to get back on the phone to tell his wife and kids and said it was something he’d never forget.
“He also wrote a very complimentary article in the Gazette racing magazine which gave us a lot of confidence in our event.”
And that confidence proved to be well-placed.
The Harness Racing Club was subsequently nominated by Harness Racing NSW for Best Level Three Meeting in 2012/13.
They then beat various racing meetings from across the State to take home the trophy at a gala dinner on Saturday night.
The winner was selected on a number of criteria including crowd, on and off course turnover, promotional activities, media presence, prize money and other event-unique factors.
Attending the annual ceremony for the second time, Mr Camilleri said he was blown away by the level of support.
“It was a bit daunting first up and all very flattering... we had people coming up to us saying that we would win the award.
“The table we were sitting at were very vocal when our name was read out and they weren’t even locals.
“On a personal side I was honoured to accept and bring it back to give it to these two (Secretary/Treasurer Warren Burrow and President Tracey Robinson).
“We’re a tight knit group. There are no individuals here and if we don’t all work together nothing happens.”
Aside from the appeal of Noll’s vocals, Mr Camilleri said the success of the meeting was based around creating a good family feel.
Twenty-four brand new bicycles were given away courtesy of a donation from former local and Melbourne businessman Ray Baker.
Ms Robinson thanked the public for getting behind harness racing in the town.
“It’s really fantastic for Broken Hill... everyone is rapt,” she said.
“Whenever representatives from Harness Racing NSW come along, they say we just have a different atmosphere to the rest.
“I’d like to thank everyone that is involved with the club. Everyone really pulled together to make it happen.”
Mr Camilleri also paid tribute to sponsors Trish and Dean Coughlan from Coughlan Drilling and Ray “Rocky” Baker (Carbine Chemical/Vetforce).
Remarkably, it was only the second time Broken Hill had held a Carnival Cup.
The BHHRC will hold its Annual General Meeting at the Memorial Oval Club Bar tomorrow at 11am.
The first race meeting of the new season will take place on Saturday, December 21.