Race his­tory straight from horse’s mouth

Arnie Din­gle talks about coun­try changes

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50 LIFE - Jack Lawrie jack.lawrie@cnbtimes.com.au

AS A re­spected pa­tron of the races, Arnie Din­gle is still ac­tive, an­nounc­ing the prizes at Monto Race Club’s an­nual meet.

Grow­ing up at Aber­corn, Mr Din­gle, 84, has been in­volved in the races since he was a jockey at the age of 15.

When he started, the Monto Race track had no tower, no photo fin­ish and a rope start bar­rier.

In those days, the judges’ de­ci­sion was fi­nal.

“How­ever they see it, it goes,” he said.

He was only a jockey for five years, so he took on a trainer’s li­cense af­ter that.

He was a trainer up un­til around the 1970s, mostly train­ing horses he part-owned or man­aged on his Aber­corn prop­erty.

From there, his ca­reer took him into the big leagues, mov­ing from five-year sec­re­tary of the Eidsvold Race Club in 1970, to a two-year stint as trea­surer be­fore be­ing of­fered a role as stew­ard and hand­i­cap­per for the Rock­hamp­ton Jockey Club.

He was also pres­i­dent of the Cen­tral District Racing As­so­ci­a­tion for eight years, cov­er­ing the Monto, Banana and Than­g­ool area.

“When I be­came in­ter­ested in the ad­min­is­tra­tion part I gave the trainer’s li­cense away, but I trained for quite a num­ber of years,” he said.

“In my time, I handicapped 15,000 horses over 16 years. I’ve got all the horses I handicapped over the years in a book.”

Be­ing in­volved with the races for so long, Mr Din­gle has come to see the mean­ing of club ad­min­is­tra­tion change.

The big­gest change was State Gov­ern­ment tak­ing over man­age­ment of the races in the ‘90s.

“Many of the clubs were ei­ther asked to shut or they shut on their own ac­cord,” Mr Din­gle said.

“You knew it was go­ing to hap­pen. They put so many spec­i­fi­ca­tions on what the clubs had to do for vol­un­tary work and they can’t af­ford it.”

With many of the clubs folded, coun­try racing thrives on its sup­port from com­mu­nity mem­bers.

As a pa­tron, Mr Din­gle is happy to leave man­age­ment in the hands of the cur­rent Race Club, while he pro­vides ad­vice where needed.

Re­gard­ing the $106,666 grant from the bud­get, Mr Din­gle hopes it means Queens­land Racing in­tends to keep the club go­ing.

“The fact they’re putting that much money to bring the fa­cil­i­ties up to their stan­dards, it shows that Monto will be racing for a fair few years yet,” he said.

PHOTO: JACK LAWRIE

MAN OF EX­PE­RI­ENCE: Arnie Din­gle, pa­tron of the Monto Race Club, has been in­volved with the races since he was 15.

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