With a father who was a successful jockey in Melbourne, including having several rides in the Melbourne Cup, John started hanging around race tracks when he a young boy, and he has never left.
He became a jockey himself for a few years and a trainer as well as gaining a Business Degree in Sports. He has also been GM of the Wellington Racing Club and CEO of the Moonee Valley, Gold Coast and Kilmore clubs before joining the Cairns club in December 2015.
His credentials and knowledge have been an enormous benefit to the 105-year-old club, which has been enjoying a revitalisation, thanks to improved track drainage system, record prize money, additional race dates, record sponsorship and increased crowd support.
“It’s just so nice to be part of the Cairns Jockey Club through this boom phase,” John said. “We are now up to 17 races a year and 15 of those are TAB meetings, where previously only seven or eight have been TAB meetings. We also have record prize money this year, and the track is in the best order it has ever been.”
While John has been a driving force behind the revitalisation of the club, he credits the team behind the scenes with its success.
“It’s nice to be part of a team that’s doing exceedingly well,” he said. “The combination we have is really special, and that’s why the club is going so well.”
John admits he does enjoy taking a punt on the races.
“I’ve had a few wins, but probably more losses than wins,” he laughed. “I wouldn’t consider myself a good punter by any means.”
Racing literally in his blood
Cairns Jockey Club
Words By Janie Barton • Photo By Catherine Coombs
585 Mulgrave Road, Woree
Ph: 4054 1203