What another fantastic day! Every year we say “this was the best yet” but every year it’s true. The Tigers of the Turf function, now in its fifth year, is definitely THE way to manage the difficult transition from footy season to spring racing carnival.
The Committee Room at Caulfield is the perfect venue to observe all the preparations for the Caulfield Guineas meeting and this year 185 guests enjoyed another splendid menu of entertainment, food, drink and companionship.
The day kicked off with football chat. Mike Perry interviewed Richmond Offensive Coach Mark Williams who had little inside knowledge about the Tigers 2015 trade and draft plans, but was most forthcoming about his role as coach of the Tigers forward line. Often confused with the other Mark (Chocko) Williams, Mark comes from an AFL player background with Carlton and the Bulldogs, and successful (three-peat) coaching record with Sandringham in the VFL.
Mike then introduced MC Bruce Clark who is without peer when it comes to knowledge of the racing industry, personalities, jockeys, owners, trainers, you name it. We are indeed fortunate to have him as our MC for this function. Mike quizzed Bruce about his new venture, GX1.
Bruce then spoke with MRC CEO Brodie Arnhold about the up-coming Caulfield season and the great Bart Cummings and his Caulfield Cup legacy. He then interviewed Brad Rawiller about his up-coming mounts and their prospects.
KB and Dr Turf, direct from their morning SEN program, then delivered their very best repertoire including tips for the Caulfield Guineas meet. Again, the message is clear: if you want to mix with the stars and get the “good oil”, get to the Tigers of the Turf function! Many guests were busy noting the tips and we subsequently heard on good authority that those who took note cleaned up the next day!
Next came our special guest for the day, singer-songwriter and mad Tiger supporter Russell Morris who had five Australian Top 10 singles during the late 1960s and early 1970s and is currently enjoying a career renaissance which includes a new album, Red Dirt – Red Heart. Russell gave a sparkling performance and had many in the audience singing along with his rendition of his big hit, The Real Thing.
After the main meal, Bruce Clark then interviewed Hugh Bowman who spoke at length about exactly what a top jockey’s life is like. Not an easy gig by any measure. (Hugh went on to ride three winners the next day at Caulfield).
Bobby Phillips and Dale Weightman then conducted the live auction which included a great range of items including tickets to the Emirate Stakes courtesy of Kevin and Jan Morris, a round of golf at the Victoria Club with Matthew Richardson and Dale Weightman, framed jockey silks in Tiger colors signed by Tiger greats, a table to a 2016 Channel 9 Footy Show, lunch for 6 at the Malvern Hotel with Jake King and Dale Weightman courtesy of Michael Burke, and finally, the Tiger Rocking Horse, a fitting conclusion to a lively auction.
Then followed interviews with trainer Robbie Laing and bookmaker Alan Eskander, who with his father Michael, founded Betstar in 2007.
Mike Perry then invited Jake Norton, Racing General Manager and the face of MRC to present the winner of the late Paris Kyne designed hat to the lucky lady and the major business card draw and raffle prize to the winners, with thanks to Bob Scarborough for the Moonee Valley race meet tickets, Courtney Garrett for the Hyatt Hotel accommodation voucher and Mal Brown for tickets to the Carbine Club Derby lunch.
The official proceedings of the day concluded with a rousing rendition of “We’re from Tigerland” and as usual, nobody was ready to leave and the conviviality of the day continued beyond the Committee room to adjacent bars for many guests.
So, the moral of the day is: do not miss this function next year!!