One of the NSW racing industry’s most likeable, hard-working and evergreen characters will be honoured at Goulburn on Thursday with the running of the Fred Cooper Cup.
A local legend at the tablelands track Fred has a resume as long as the Goulburn straight when it comes to the number of projects he has helped complete for the race club.
It’s estimated that “Super Cooper” as some in the racing fraternity like to call him, has mowed over 30 000 km of grass at the Goulburn Club over the last twenty years. That’s almost ten trips to Perth! In that time, he has also worn out at least four of the club’s mowers!
Officially he spent twenty-one years as President of the race club board, and another ten as Vice President. The Goulburn race club building is named after him and he was awarded the first ever Simon Nivison Special Achievement Award for service to Country Racing in 1999/2000.
A local born and bred, Fred has devoted thousands of hours to the upkeep of the Goulburn track, playing a key role in making it one of the most competitive racing surfaces in NSW. A fact borne out by the strong blend of city, provincial and country trainers that race their gallopers at Goulburn each year.
Current Goulburn Race Club President Ken Ikin believes every race club in Australia would love to have someone like Fred on their team.
“You can never put a dollar value on the contribution and dedication of someone like Fred Cooper to the Goulburn Race Club,” Mr Ikin said.
“His standing in the club and the tablelands district throws a long shadow that would be tough for anyone in these parts to match in the future.”
“He has always had the best interest of the race club and our track at heart as evidenced by his ‘we’ll do whatever it takes’ attitude to getting the course ready for any race day we host. They say time waits for no man, thankfully it slowed down just enough for Fred to find his calling with Goulburn District Race Club.”
The man himself (who was mowing the track when contacted for this story!) is looking forward to the running of the 8th edition of the race named in his honour and has volunteered the following form analysis.
“I would love to see a local win it. Despite being a Manly supporter I give Newtown Bluebag a real chance for the Longmire twins,” Mr Cooper said.
And Fred’s rationale for giving so much time to the race club and track?
“You’ve got to have a reason to get out of bed!”
“Having the opportunity to build our club up to what it is today and work with so many different people locally and in the NSW Racing Industry has been something I have always loved doing.”
Goulburn’s seven race card kicks off at 2.10pm on Thursday and it could be a good day for the locals all round. Local trainers have 25% of the runners engaged with some genuine chances on paper.
The always producing Danny Williams stable gets the promising Acquittal back to the races for a second campaign in the first on the card, whilst Tash Burleigh (NJB Racing) has Territorial back in action in race two, the gelding coming off a close-up highway handicap run last time out.
Local ladies also have a strong presence in the feature with the consistent Salesman (Sarah Murray-Leslie) looking well placed whilst recent stable acquisition and last start winner Newtown Bluebag (Emma & Lucy Longmire) steps out on his home track for the first time.
In race 6, Seething Drake (Mark Gee) stretches out to a staying trip third up, a distance range that the horse has yet to miss a cheque at whilst the city placed Nicconita (John Bateman) should be very competitive in the last event on the program.
For more information contact Goulburn Race Club on 02 48 222222
Full form including replays for Goulburn’s race meeting on Thursday is available at racingnsw.com.au