VALE GLEN BAILEY: Racing icon remembered as a gentle giant
Glen Bailey, one of Central Queensland’s best known racing administrators during the 1970’s and 80’s, has died in Brisbane following a long illness.
Bailey, 81 was the Chairman of Stewards for both the Rockhampton Jockey Club and Rockhampton Harness Racing Club at intervals during that period after rising through the ranks.
Born in Mt Isa in August 1939, Bailey joined the Queensland Police Force in 1958 and during the next 11 years served at Longreach, Mackay, Gladstone and Rockhampton.
During his tenure in the force, he dabbled in training racehorses and became smitten by the bug which eventually led to his administrative roles in racing and trotting as it was known at the time.
A man’s man and a very formidable opponent on the rugby league field, his son Terry, now a senior steward with the Hong Kong Jockey Club related some anecdotes about his father.
“Dad played rugby league while he was the policeman based at Longreach. Imagine how tough you would have had to have been to do that in those days”, Terry said.
Glen Bailey is remembered as a very strict steward but also a very fair one at that.
The consensus of opinion from those trainers and jockeys that worked under him in that era was that he wouldn’t tolerate any nonsense.
Former top Rockhampton jockey Mark Unwin was a close personal friend with son Terry who he grew up with in Rockhampton.
“Mr Bailey pulled me aside one day when I was a young apprentice and told it to me straight. I remember him saying just because you are good mates with Terry don’t go expecting any favours. If anything, I’ll expect more from you”, Unwin a trackwork rider at Callaghan Park recalled.
Unwin said Glen Bailey was a tough stipe who had no favourites and expected everyone to adhere to racing rules.
While his sometimes seemingly gruff persona and strong physical appearance went a long way to act as a deterrent to intending rule breakers, in many ways Glen Bailey was a gentle giant.
Unwin relates how Glen was instrumental in ensuring the apprentice did not become a spendthrift of his riding earnings held in trust by the RJC when they were released to him at the end of his six-year apprenticeship.
“Mr Bailey came to me and said I want you to go for a drive. He arranged to have me taken over to Park Avenue and said ‘’I want you to invest that money in buying a house for sale there’’. I said ‘’no I don’t want to do that’’. He said you will as I have seen too many kids (apprentices) blow their money when they come out of their time and have nothing to show for it. You’ll do that too unless you get this house”, Unwin said.
Fortunately, Mark Unwin heeded Glen Bailey’s advice be it from fear or sound reasoning and bought the house thereby having something to show for all those years work.
“I’m glad I did what he suggested – no what he told me to do and I will always be indebted to Mr Bailey for that”, Mark said.
Glen Bailey’s funeral service will be held at Redcliffe on Monday but his passion and legacy for a “level playing field” in racing will live on.
His son Terry will deliver the eulogy via a website link from the Hong Kong Jockey Club offices which is world’s away from where T. Bailey commenced his racing career as a junior at Callaghan Park, Rockhampton.