Outgoing chief steward Neville Laskey.
Outgoing chief steward Neville Laskey. CONTRIBUTED

Chief steward set to leave Rockhampton

AFTER less than two months in charge, Rockhampton's chief racing steward Neville Laskey is leaving, having accepted a job in South Australia.

Laskey took over the reins in the steward's room at Callaghan Park at the May 21 race meeting, filling the void created last August when Rockhampton's former chief steward Luke Collins resigned his post to pursue a career as a lawyer.

Yesterday Laskey, a respected steward with more than 28 years of thoroughbred racing experience, confirmed he was re-locating to Adelaide.

"I've taken up an offer from Thoroughbred Racing South Australia to be a senior stipendiary steward on the main Adelaide panel,” he said.

"I'm set to commence there August 5 but that's a little bit flexible.”

Laskey said while it was only a short stint with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, based in Rockhampton, he had enjoyed his time here.

"I'm very grateful to QRIC for having employed me, it's just that it was a good offer to move on and I was quite interested when I was contacted about the job and took it up from there.

"I've certainly enjoyed my time here.

"I've been away from Australia for a long time and away from the systems and that sort of thing took a bit of getting used to but I've learnt quite a bit in the past couple of months and will take that experience with me.”

Laskey, a former jockey with the enviable record of having ridden in 16 races for four wins, said he had always been interested in the Adelaide racing scene, having originally come from Victoria.

"My father was a trainer and he used to take horses over there and I used to accompany him back in those days.

"We had a horse called Karkarooc, he won four races in Melbourne and one in Adelaide as well.

"He was born on the border of a shire called Karkarooc and a shire called Mallee I believe so that was how he got his name.”

Yesterday Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said Josh Adams had been appointed to replace Laskey at Rockhampton.

"Josh Adams has been appointed to the role and holds in excess of 10 years' stewarding experience predominantly in thoroughbred racing,” Mr Barnett said.

"Mr Adams has stewarding experience in New South Wales and South Australia and is keen to take up the opportunity to work in Rockhampton.

"He will commence work early next month.”

It was great to see Central Queensland thoroughbred enthusiasts Bill and Di Ouston taste ownership success with Havasay taking out the Listed $160,000 Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton on Wednesday.

One big race win is a thrill for an owner but Havasay managed to bring up back-to-back wins in the time-honoured feature.

I vividly remember some years back talking horses with Bill and Di during a visit to their property at Springton Park, and in particular one comment Bill made has always stuck with me.

When the subject of ownership and big races came up Bill said: "It's not about the money, it's about the thrill.”

I remember thinking out loud and saying something along the lines of: "That's easy for you to say Bill, your wallet is considerably larger than mine.”

I can only hope that I get to live the dream one day.

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