Greg gets the nod
YOU would have to go a long way to find a more unassuming and humble man than Greg Lee.
But it was his contribution to the horse racing industry which attracted headlines last month when he was named as Queensland Country Club Person of the Year at the annual On The Bit Country Racing Awards in Emerald.
Mr Lee, 61, may live at Spyglass, south-west of Townsville, but he is familiar face at the Bowen Turf Club.
"I'm the clerk of the course at both Bowen and Home Hill racecourses,” he said.
Mr Lee has spent a lifetime around horses and as part of the racing industry.
"I started shoeing and breaking horses in from when I was 17, so that's 44 years and I've been mixed up in clerking for at least 30 years,” he said.
The clerk of the course position is one of, if not the most important during a race meeting.
Their roles extend from chaperoning competitors to the starting gates to dealing with any immediate issues that might arise throughout a race.
The clerk of the course uniform harks back to the hunting days of centuries gone by in England.
Mr Lee attributed much of his success to one important factor, listening.
"If you respect the jockeys then your job is half done,” he said.
"More often than not they know the horse, know their quirks and so if they tell you something, then you should take notice.”
His pride and joy is a lovely black mare Davida, who Mr Lee rides while performing his clerking duties on the non-TAB circuit, including Ewan, the closest racecourse to his home.
"They have a really good meeting at Ewan each September,” she said.
"It is a great two-day carnival on a grass track.”
Mr Lee was "dobbed in” as a contender for the Country Person of the Year award by his wife of 33 years Anita.
And what about his thoughts on receiving the accolade?
"I suppose someone had to get it,” he joked.
With Mr Lee unable to get to Emerald for the night of nights, his award was accepted by Bowen Turf Club president Stephen Daley and presented to Mr Lee ahead of Bowen's first TAB meeting on March 2.