A stalwart of racing will farewell Rosehill Gardens after almost half a century on Saturday as Sydney’s champion trainer, and a young jockey on the rise, continue to strive for their own piece of history.
The Australian Turf Club’s official race starter Bill Dale will work at his last Rosehill Gardens meeting after a 49-year career in Sydney racing where he has literally held the fortunes of tens of thousands of races in his hands.
Bill, who began work with the Sydney Turf Club and has been the official starter of 36 Golden Slippers at Rosehill Gardens before later becoming the official starter at all Australian Turf Club tracks, will retire at the end of this racing season.
His first Golden Slipper as starter was in 1977, when the mighty colt Luskin Star, trained by Max Lees, won by seven lengths, taking an astonishing 1.1 seconds off the race record, before going on to claim the coveted two year old triple crown.
Bill was also the trackwork supervisor at Canterbury Park for many years and has been regarded as one of the most respected figures in Sydney racing over many decades.
His last Rosehill Gardens race day coincides with the naming of Saturday’s program after another racing champion.
Might and Power Race Day, first started in 1998 by the owner of the great horse, Nick Moraitis AM, has raised more than $4.4 million over 17 years at the races for Cerebral Palsy Australia.
Australian Turf Club Chief Executive Officer Darren Pearce paid tribute to the work of Bill Dale and Cerebral Palsy Australia.
“The work of the starter often goes unnoticed but it is arguably one of the most important jobs on the racetrack at that critical moment of every single race,’’ Mr Pearce said.
“To think Billy has been at the forefront of that over many decades with such great skill and professionalism is an incredible achievement.
“We thank and congratulate Bill for all of his great service and wish he and his family the very best for a long and happy retirement.
“We are also very proud to have Cerebral Palsy Australia as one our longest charity supporters and recognise the wonderful work they do, especially in helping children with disabilities.’’
On Saturday, Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller will continue his charge at another record, needing 14 winners over the remaining four metropolitan meetings to beat last year’s mark of 167.5 winners.
Waller has 17 runners in six of the eight races on Saturday, including four runners in the main race, the Myer Fashion Winter Stakes over 1400m, the last listed race of the Sydney season.
Waller’s runners Tougher Than Ever ($11 TAB Fixed Odds), Hidden Kisses ($13), Coup Aye Tee ($16) and Tromso ($18) will be out to upset the two equal favourites Scream Machine and Generalife (both $3.50 TAB Fixed Odds) who have dominated the winter sprint races in Sydney this season.
And jockey James McDonald – who has ridden 69 Sydney metropolitan winners carrying almost $10.5 million in prizemoney – needs just two winners to claim outright his first Sydney premiership.
McDonald has six rides at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday – Fastnet Diva ($8.50 TAB Fixed Odds), Longeron ($7.50), Arquette ($15), Hidden Kisses ($13), My Sabeel ($21) and Imperil ($9.50).
The Australian Turf Club’s popular Winter Racing offers continue at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday with family behind the scenes tours and extra winter buffet offers again almost booked out.
Among other benefits to punters on track at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday are:
Super Saver - $45 of value for $20: Pre-Purchase via Ticketek at www.theraces.com.au and receive racecourse entry, a standard drink voucher, a Vili’s Pie, racebook and free entry to another winter race meeting of your choice;
Beer at Pub prices: $5 tap beers all day at the Winners Circle bar in the public area and the Cotton Fingers bar in the Members area;
Double TAB Rewards: Exclusive to winter racing in Sydney, TAB Reward customers will receive DOUBLE reward points for all bets placed through an EBT on track.
Rosehill Gardens features free high capacity WiFi across the whole racecourse precinct, along with free parking at the racecourse.
For all racing, ticketing and hospitality information go to www.theraces.com.au