Duo recognised for nearly a century of service
Two true stalwarts of the Beaumont Racing Club were recognised for their service to racing at the club’s race meeting at Wingatui on 22 March.
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) Deputy chair, Darryll Park, was on hand to present NZTR Service Awards to veteran contributors Bob Wood and Forbes Knight.
Both men had lengthy terms as the Beaumont Racing Club president and between them have given more than 100 years of service to the club.
Bob joined the committee in 1960 and Forbes four years later and the pair, who are now Life Members, still attend committee meetings and help on race day.
Bob Wood was born into the Beaumont Racing Club as the track was on the family farm, with the club, which had two race days in the 1940s and 50s, paying 100 pounds a day for hire of the track.
Bob and his brother Alan used to get sixpence for taking horses off the train to the course and collected beer and lemonade bottles after the races for pocket money.
Bob also remembers cutting the track for hay on the day before the races!
The water tank for the food booth was a farm tank, filled with green sludge, which was emptied out the day before races and filled from the railway tank. No one died.
Bob filled many roles as a committee member, before serving as President for 14 years. He still, works on race day, presenting dress rugs and trophies, and helping wherever he can.
Forbes’ first role as a committee member was sitting in a little hut inside the track, with responsibility for painting the names of the jockeys on the boards. He had a prized set of stencils from A to Z!
He progressed to track steward, and then got himself a “bit of a law book” and became a judicial steward.
Forbes was Vice-President for a few years, then became President for 22 years. During this time, the club had to move their race meeting as they could not afford the improvements needed to continue racing at Beaumont. Since then, the club has raced at Wingatui, with great success.
Forbes makes a point of attending all committee meetings and takes the role of operating the birdcage gates on race day, something he also does regularly at Otago Racing Club meetings.