Gallops - News

Charity dinner to raise funds for injured jockeys

  • Wed, 11 Jul 2018
  • Dennis Ryan
Hall of Fame jockey Jim Cassidy will be the guest speaker at next month's charity fund-raiser for injured jockeys.

Hall of Fame jockey Jim Cassidy will be the guest speaker at next month's charity fund-raiser for injured jockeys.

Racing industry participants are joining forces to raise funds for injured jockeys with a charity dinner in August.

The initiative is being led by former New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing chairman Guy Sargent, who along with other members of his group is canvassing to support the cause with memorabilia and other items for auction.

All donated items will go up for auction at the dinner on Sunday, August 19, at The Red Barn, the function centre midway between Cambridge and Matamata which is being made available by its owners, former champion jockey Lance O’Sullivan and his wife Bridgette.

A highlight of the evening will be guest speaker Jim Cassidy, another former champion jockey whose character featured in last Sunday’s TVNZ drama recounting the life and times of Melbourne Cup winner Kiwi.

Cassidy, a member of the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame and now retired in Sydney, was one of the more controversial members of his profession, as recounted in his 2016 biography “Pumper”.

“Getting Jimmy Cassidy as the guest speaker is a real coup,” says Sargent. “I’m told that he’s a very entertaining speaker and what I do know of him is that he’s bound to have a few tall – and maybe some not so tall – tales to tell.

“He knows as well as anyone the risks jockeys take every time they mount up and he’s very happy to help the cause.

“In the time that we’ve been up and running, getting the dinner organised, the indications of support are very encouraging. And that’s how it should be, as racing wouldn’t exist without the contribution jockeys make.

“It’s a fact that injury is part and parcel of the job for jockeys, and for more than we would like to remember it has had tragic consequences.

“This charity dinner will give people who recognise the key role played by jockeys to make a contribution to their welfare.”

All funds raised at the dinner will go to the NZTR-administered General Trust Fund, which is New Zealand racing’s key welfare provider for injured jockeys and their families.

“The General Trust Fund does a superb job in the way it supports jockeys in need, and that includes their dependents,” Sargent added. “That perhaps hasn’t always been the case, but the realisation has developed whereby jockey welfare and making their working environment a safer place is very much part of the way the racing industry conducts itself.

“By bringing it all together for a fund-raising dinner, everybody who shares that philosophy can make a contribution to this very worthy cause.”

Tickets to the charity dinner can be purchased at $150 each or $1350 for a table of 10. Enquiries for ticketing or anyone wishing to donate an auction item should be referred to Lisa Dunbar at 021 942574 or email timberlee@xtra.co.nz.