Life members still racing

The best finish of the day - the first five were all within a length of each other for the Battle of the Bush Esk Qualifier Open Handicap. Pictured: (5th to 1st, L-R) Mista Omega, Dollop, Diggity, Dare to Share and the winner, Masterplan (whose nose is just within frame). Pictures: SHARON COWLEY

Esk Jockey Club (EJC) life members and their families visited the Esk Racecourse on Saturday, 18 May for a very special race meet.

EJC secretary Sharon Cowley said the race meet brought familiar faces back to Esk to honour the club’s 13 life members, of which five are still alive.

“We honoured the life members, so we had about 75 people together in a tent, so that was very social and successful,” Cowley said.

“Our saddle cloths, from 1 to 13, each had one of the life member’s names on them.

“People were always cheering on their own family.

“We had prizes, so if their saddle crossed number one they were given a prize, it was like they’d ridden the horse themselves.

“The funny thing was, I think most of them just bid on the horse that carried their saddle cloth.”

Cowley said she met people she had not seen in more than five years.

“Some people hadn’t been back to the races or to Esk for five years, because that’s when the saddle cloths were first made, so it was a real catch up for a lot of them,” she said.

The four life members who were able to attend had significant history with the EJC.

“Lyn Moore was here, she was a secretary for a long time,” Cowley said.

“Tom Ulyatt was here and he works on the barriers still, Tony Fitzgerald is our patron and he is also our bidding steward, and Vince Roberton drove the stewards.”

Unfortunately, Terry Cowley was unable to attend.

Race 4 was dedicated to ‘Cheer A Volunteer’ winner Graeme Lynch, the EJC’s track manager.

“His dedication follows one of the other life members, Des Moore, he has since died,” Cowley said.

“He used to do the track well and that was one of his pet loves, and it’s followed by Graeme.”