By Jordan Gerrans
As a man who has visited dozens of racetracks around Queensland, Paul Hoolihan knows a thing or two about the beauty of a turf club.
In his somewhat biased opinion, the former politician and lawyer rates the Yeppoon Turf Club, just north-east of Rockhampton in central Queensland, as the most picturesque racetrack in the Sunshine State.
After a diverse career that took Hoolihan to places like Mount Isa, Brisbane, Longreach, Rockhampton, Townsville and visiting most of the towns and cities in between, he believes the Capricornia track of Yeppoon is the best of the best.
“We have a beautiful course; ...I have seen a fair few of them over the journey, I personally believe it is the most picturesque,” Hoolihan said.
“It is one of the loveliest rural clubs in Queensland, bar none.
“It is just superb, I am including Cluden in Townsville and Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park as well.
“As a small club, a country club, it is second to none our track - it is just glorious.”
Hoolihan is of course the president of the Club now after a lengthy working career around the state, having retired in recent years.
In regards to its picturesque nature, it should only get better from here, as well.
Yeppoon is close to finalising a brand new running rail, which was completely rebuilt recently, with the help of funding from Racing Queensland.
The new running rail is in place and looking perfect for this Saturday’s non-TAB five event program from the track.
It is set to be the first race meeting at the track with patrons for some time.
It is all set for race day, but there is remaining works to be done to complete the rail for track work in the mornings, which will be completed in the near future.
Furthermore, Yeppoon is about to have their irrigation system upgraded as well as a brand new judges’ box to be built.
All the funding for the shiny new judges’ box has been secured, with the construction to commence and hopefully be completed in the next few months.
Hoolihan (pictured) is a “racing lifer” having started out as a bookmaker’s assistant in 1973, before going on to own race horses.
He worked closely with the racing industry when he was in the Queensland parliament for just under a decade, and is now the president of a country club.
He raced horses with other members of parliament during his eight-year stint as Member for Keppel, and before that Hoolihan was a judge at the Mount Isa Turf Club in his younger days.
The famous Saunders racing family of Mount Isa also played a part in Hoolihan’s journey.
“I have been tied up in it for years and I have just gravitated to the other side of it now, being the president,” Hoolihan said.
“It is something that is near and dear to my heart.”