By Mark Brassel
It’s hard to fathom, but Len Tozer has been secretary of his beloved Gundagai-Adelong Race Club since man first landed on the moon and The Beatles made their last public appearance.
Devoting half a century to the Club has been a truly epic achievement and on Friday night Tozer was duly recognised by the racing community at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel.
During Racing NSW’s Country and Provincial awards night, Tozer was honoured with the prestigious Simon Nivison Special Achievement Award.
Over the past 50 years, Tozer has also held the position of secretary of the local Rugby League Club and the Local Show Society.
He served as secretary of Gundagai Racecourse Showground Trust and secretary of the Common Trust, with Tozer having has spent 20 years on local Council.
Tozer was Gundagai’s longest-serving Mayor (12 years) and received an OAM for his contribution to his community of Gundagai.
Popular Sky Racing presenter, Gary Harley, was another to receive recognition with the Ted McCabe Provincial Recognition Award.
‘Gaz’ has devoted a lifetime to racing and sports in the Hunter Valley, as well as the Country and Provincial regions of NSW, most notably through his vast media career.
Introduced to racing early by his Dad, Harley secured part-time work as a teenager relaying scratchings on Newcastle’s Radio 2HD on a Saturday morning and as a fill-in greyhound racecaller in the Hunter Valley.
For more than 45 years Harley has provided previews, expert commentary and mounting yard mail for the various racing radio networks.
In the late 1980s he joined the Sky Channel team and today can be seen at three or four race meetings each week as part of the Sky Thoroughbred Central network.
Other award winners included Victorem, the rock-solid favourite for the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko, who was awarded Country Horse of the Year.
The Country TAB Race Club of the Year went to Murrumbidgee Turf Club, Country Race Club of the Year was Louth Turf Club and the Outstanding Achievement Award was taken out by Forbes Jockey Club.
Country Trainer of the Year was Brett Cavanough, Country Jockey of the Year was Greg Ryan, Country Apprentice Jockey of the Year was Blaike McDougall and Country Approved Rider of the Year was won by Maddison Wright.
Provincial winners were In Her Time (Provincial Horse of the Year), Gwenda Markwell (Provincial Trainer of the Year), Tommy Berry (Provincial Jockey of the Year) and Robbie Dolan (Provincial Apprentice Jockey of the Year).
Meanwhile, one of the most popular NSW picnic meetings takes place next Saturday with Young-Burrangong races. The six-race program features the Delta Agribusiness Burrangong Picnic Cup (1400m).
Young-Burrangong Picnic Race Club’s, Tom Wills, said: “It’s a fabulous day’s racing and fun. We have a Fashions on the Field with over $2500 worth of prizes; the major sponsor being Ella Bache.
“And a full TAB, interstate and local bookmakers. There is also Cold Rock ice cream, a jumping castle and face painting for the kids.
“The afterparty features Kaktus Alley playing from 5pm until the last bus, with buses running from The Aussie Hotel commencing at 11:45am until 8:30pm. The entire town of Young is really looking forward to the day!”