Yeppoon racing is family affair for the Simpsons

DAY IN THE SUN: President of the Yeppoon Turf Club, Greg Simpson, is busily preparing for Saturday’s race day.
DAY IN THE SUN: President of the Yeppoon Turf Club, Greg Simpson, is busily preparing for Saturday’s race day. Chris Ison Rokcrace

THE racing industry and, in particular, the Yeppoon Turf Club (YTC) are definitely the winners through Greg Simpson's aversion for the sea.

Simpson, 62 this Saturday, celebrates his 10th anniversary as president of the YTC at Keppel Park racecourse with the GJ Gardner Homes Newmarket Handicap (1300m) featuring.

Mind you, Greg, an endless worker and carer for just about everyone at Keppel Park race meetings, won't have time to celebrate.

Simpson and his wife Trish moved to Yeppoon from Rockhampton about 30 years ago to join his father's business, Yeppoon Paint and Panel, which Greg took over.

"When I came down here everyone was into boats and fishing but that was no good to me because I suffer badly from sea sickness," Greg recalled yesterday.

"I remember I was having a drink at the old Club Hotel, Yeppoon and a character called Gordon Smith asked me if I wanted to get into a racehorse.

"I said I'm in and that's how my interest started."

The horse, Immediate Jewel, was the forerunner to many others with Greg also dabbling in breeding.

Without doubt, Greg was the motivation force behind the rejuvenation of racing at Keppel Park more than a decade ago.

Together with Trish, their daughters, Cherie and Amy and son Joel and a loyal band of volunteers, Simpson has catapulted the YTC and its popularity to new heights.

"Our marquees around the grounds have already filled-up through 1100 private bookings. It is amazing how popular the marquees have become for groups and businesses and organisations looking for a social day at the races," Trish Simpson said.

The traditional meeting which coincides with the VRC Derby Day races at Flemington is arguably Yeppoon's biggest with gates opening at 10.30am.

Up to 3000 people are likely to go racing there which means work aplenty for the all-volunteer staff.

Rightly so, Greg acknowledges the club has come a long way.

"All our staff is volunteers. Everybody on the grounds - about 30 in all give up their time and effort for the racing public and industry stakeholders to go racing at Yeppoon," Trish said.

While praising fellow committee members for their untiring contribution, the Simpsons are proud of the input from their children.

"Our daughter Cherie comes up from Brisbane for the race days and works the cocktail bar, her concept which also offers platters. Amy and our daughter-in law Katrina and my sister Jayne Handley work with me in the canteen," Trish said.

"Our volunteers and helpers see it as giving back something to the community and each and every one of them can be very proud for that," Greg said.

None however should stand as tall as Greg Simpson, a giver and unsung hero of Central Queensland racing.

Topics:  yeppoon turf club