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Country racing stalwart Rob Luck recognised for years of contribution

2674db17-452b-42d6-bdd8-2b0ba6e933e4.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans

One of the great contributors to regional racing in Queensland was recognised for his tireless efforts at his home town Cup day earlier this year.

Former Longreach Jockey Club president Rob Luck was inducted as a Life Member of the Central West-based club in September, highlighting his more than a decade long contribution to racing in the area.

On the big day for racing in Longreach, the Club held a ceremony between races to honour Luck’s significant influence on the racing industry.   

Current Longreach Jockey Club president Andrew Watts, who took the reins from Luck when he stepped down from the job, believes racing in the Central West would not be as professional as it is today if not for Luck’s efforts.

“To become a life member, you need to do some pretty special things for a club and Rob’s involvement spans over 12 years,” Watts said.

“Financially, he turned the club around as he has a savvy business sense.

“It is the little things like infrastructure grants, seeing his experience expand over so many years and bringing that knowledge here.”

As well as being the President of the Club, Luck wears several hats with the racing game.

He spent eight years as President at Longreach, after initially being on the committee, as well as being the race caller for many Central West clubs, on top of owning several gallopers and spruiking the sport on the popular Bush Beat on Radio TAB for 15 years.

Through his role as the regular race caller, the respected Luck went out of his way to host club’s race days, adding professionalism to them, while also aiming to give participants a larger profile as in the Central West region of the state, many jockeys and trainers do it for the love of the sport and often work a full-time job during the week.

Luck provided a polished approach to the industry when he built his involvement, coming from a background as a school principal before becoming a small business owner in Longreach.

IMG-6382.jpgHe first called a race by chance but quickly came to loving the role – including being featured on Sky Racing when tracks in the area hosted rare TAB days.

“I got involved with the race calling side simply because one day they did not have a race caller and I had a crack at it,” Luck said.

“That was about 15 years ago and gradually I got a bug for it and got more involved with the calling to then call the race meetings in the Central West region of Queensland.

“I am honoured to be considered good enough to call the TAB meetings, for an old guy like me, it is really well appreciated.

“I kept thinking after coming to the races, you can make it a great day and portray what country racing is about – it needed some contribution and all I did was put my hand up to do a bit of talking in the enclosure and interviewing jockeys.

“I think we have done a really good job as a club.”

As well as Rob’s Life Member induction on Longreach Cup day, his wife Leanne was also honoured for her efforts, given a certificate of appreciation from the club after being the driving force behind getting fashions on the field off the ground.

Watts, who is also a race caller in the area, thinks there is no more deserving person to be a life member than Luck, with Leanne helping along the way. 

“Rob has helped highlight our participants out in the West and he deserves every accolade he can get,” Watts said.

“He has been a great asset to the community and with his racing calling as well, he has professionalised that, as well, doing post and pre-race interviews.

“Giving our participants, with jockeys and trainers, a profile and bringing them into the spotlight, which is important.”

A famous Queensland galloper in Eye Liner, who won the Champagne Stakes in Sydney and won at Eagle Farm once carrying 69.5kgs, was what first introduced Luck to the industry all those decades ago.

“I have always been involved and had a passion for racing, Eye Liner in 1965 started me off with the hairs on the back of my neck hearing her win that Champagne Stakes,” Luck said.

“I got hooked on racing in that regard, not so much the punting, but the thoroughbred animal being involved.”

Rob and Leanne plan to eventually relocate from Longreach to the Gold Coast, where he hopes to remain involved in country racing in some capacity.