The Newcastle Jockey Club has recently thrown its support behind the Thoroughbred Sport Horse Association.

“We’re really excited to join with TSHA,” said Michael Buckley, the club’s industry liaison and racing supervisor. “It’s something we’ve been looking into for quite a while now.”

It all began when he met Nicole Poetsch who handles the Association’s administration and licenses.

“I bumped into her at a Stonewall jump day in September. I was with my friend jockey Rachael Murray who was competing on ‘Mouse’ and ‘Chook’, more formally referred to as ‘Medal of Glory’ and ‘Mr Pumblechook’,” explained Michael.

(For the literary-minded Mr Pumblechook was a character in Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’ described as a ‘large hard-breathing middle-aged slow man’.)

“I told Nicole the Jockey Club was committed to showing it had a genuine care in helping horses have a life after racing; and things have snowballed from there.

“We’re now looking to sponsor OTT classes, particularly those at Stonewall, and at this year’s Newcastle Show were supporting its entire horse section which has four OTT classes.”

The Newcastle Jockey Club, which trades as Newcastle Racecourse, was formed in 1907. Today it’s considered to be one of the leading and most progressive racing clubs in Australia.

“I’ve never been a competition rider myself,” said Michael, who began working in racing administration four years ago. “I worked in a stable when I was a young lad and trained for a little while, but I’ve always been hands on when it comes to horses.

“I part own a few, as do several of our Club’s directors, and those horses which don’t do any good are rehomed.

“If they’re small and agile some go on to polo and polocrosse, others to jumping dressage or eventing. And there are many people who have a good eye for what might make a quality show horse and they’ll often approach us on race day asking us to let them know straight away if it’s unsuccessful on the track.”

The Club’s first sponsorship will be at Stonewall’s one-metre class in February.  “It will, I hope, be the beginning of a long and fruitful association with TSHA.”

 SUZY JARRATT – February 2021