THE country racing industry owes the late Taree racing administrator Don Hopkins (funeral last Thursday) a great deal of gratitude for his pioneering spirit and perseverance to get a better deal in a career of 36 years devoted to the industry's administration.
He was the initiator in pursuing binding agreements with Racing NSW to deliver better financial outcomes for its participants.
The racing industry was virtually going broke until Hopkins was able to lift the funding for country participants by showing figures where country racing by its contribution to the TAB financial pie was worth more in the overall scheme of things.
This meant that country racing received a greater share towards its running, funding not only improved prizemoney but also providing incentives for owners through participation.
Taree and the Taree Wingham Race Club were Hopkins' "baby" and through his dedication, prudent management, 10 years as chairman and 22 years as treasurer, the race club facilitity is not only a treasure for those involved in racing but also as a social amenity for the community.
He was not only dedicated to the industry but was passionate that it succeed as one of the biggest industries for country folk.
He was the guiding light as he methodically went about the task of creating a industry to be proud of.
He was an acting chairman of Racing NSW, a director on the Australian Racing Board (2004-08) and was still a serving director of the Racing NSW Country Council until his death at 75 after an illness.
His services to horse racing in NSW and to the community of Taree were recognised with him being awarded a Medal to the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2008.
Hopkins bowed out of being chairman of Taree Wingham Race Club not quite a year ago when he became ill after 36 years continuous service to the club and handed the reins over to his tutored new chairman Greg Coleman.
His love of horses led to him racing many, some good, others not so good and he loved the atmosphere of racedays.
He and former Racing NSW chairman Stan Hayes owned the first winner of the Taree Cup on the new racetrack at Bushland Drive.
That was in 1974 with their galloper Forerunner. Hopkins later had further success in the cup with Shoemaker in 2001.
As a mark of his respect from Racing NSW, seven executives from that body, including its chief executive officer Peter V'landys and racing steward chairman Ray Murrihy, were among the many mourners at the funeral.
Hopkins certainly made his mark in life and will be sadly missed.
Racing NSW has announced the expansion of the hugely successful Breeders Owners Bonus Scheme (BOBS).
From January 1 next year the owners of the broodmare,at the time of foal return, will also receive a BOBS bonus when nominated offspring win a BOBS bonus race in NSW.
This is to entice breeding owners to remain active participants in NSW and by this Racing NSW has introduced a 2.5 percent mare owner's bonus which comes at no cost to them.
The inclusion makes the scheme not only valuable for those with nominated stallions but more valuable to all participants in the breeding industry.
Big weights and winning
Taree six-year-old gelding Floral Insight keeps on carrying big weights and winning.
Last Friday the Jim Delaney-trained and owned galloper lumped 60.5 kgs to victory at Coffs Harbour in scoring by just over a length for Taree apprentice jockey Daniel Holten who has had a good record on the gelding.
That was Floral Insight's 50th start and took its prizemoney to about $215,000 for 15 wins and 23 placings.
On the same card Taree trainer Bindi Cheers grabbed her second win for three-year-old gelding Wonderful Aussie which paid well at odds of 5-1.
It was ridden by Taree jockey Scott Thurlow who is back riding winners after being out for over three months with injuries suffered in a race fall.
Krambach Race Club has its big cup meeting at Bushland Drive Racecourse,Taree, this Friday,the feature cup race being over 1600m and worth $20,000 on an eight-race TAB card. I will preview the meeting in this Friday's edition.