Off and racing: Grace jumps in CEO’s saddle
COUNTRY Racing Victoria will continue to back the Stony Creek Racing Club.
That news has delighted the club’s new CEO, lifelong racing fan Terry Grace.
The Inverloch man took over from Ralph Gallagher three weeks ago and comes to the role with national and international business experience, and a racing passion inspired by his grandparents.
“The club is in a fantastic situation at the moment. Ralph Gallagher has done a really fantastic job. The club is strategically well placed and has got the finances and a solid framework,” Grace said.
“Country Racing Victoria and Racing Victoria chiefs have agreed with our future and they are helping us along the way to keep improving the product.”
Despite pleasing attendances at past race meetings, Grace aims to attract more race-goers and already has plans for the first meeting of the summer racing season: December 6, with a Christmas party theme and children’s activities.
A family day will be held on December 27 and the highly successful ladies day on January 5, 2015 will continue to offer superb entertainment. Marquees will be offered at all race meetings, featuring quality catering and local wines.
A December meeting could include a pony race, drawing on the existing support of the Meeniyan and Mirboo North pony clubs.
“We hope to attract more than 1000 people to our summer race meetings,” Grace said, adding the club’s new look website would help promote the club’s activities.
“We want to make the Stony Creek Racing Club a most important organisation within the local community. Our plan is to get more community groups involved.”
With that in mind, the April race meeting will be a community day, with such groups as Probus and seniors, and farmers urged to take part.
The club employs six staff, including Grace and a track manager. Paul O’Sullivan is acting club president while president Paul Boag recovers from a horse fall.
“For me, the job is a great mix of my life’s passion and my business skills. It’s my dream job,” Grace said.
He was a member of the club’s marketing committee under former CEO, the late Rob Armstrong.
Grace’s interest in racing stems from his grandparents’ involvement with the sport. His grandfather on his dad’s side was a successful owner and his mother’s mum was a keen punter.
Grace accompanied his grandfather to race meetings as a teenager and Grace later helped a friend with his SP bookie business at country and city race meetings.
He has since obtained a Master of Business Administration degree and worked with the Ford Motor Company for 37 years. He served as purchasing manager, overseeing $1 billion worth of contracts, and also managed travel and corporate events for Ford, Jaguar, Mazda, Land Rover and Volvo in Australia and Asia.
Work travels enabled Grace to visit the famed Coolmore thoroughbred stud in Ireland, responsible for such horses as Danehill and Saddlers Wells.
“I also got the chance to go to Hong Kong for International Race Day and was there the day Damien Oliver ran Falvelon to win the main international sprint race,” Grace said.
He later managed the online racing discussion forum racehorsetalk.com.au and has owned horses himself.
With connections to Cape Paterson for 30 years, Grace is now treasurer of the Inverloch Rotary Club and a volunteer at the Inverloch Visitor Information Centre.
Gallagher said Grace was well placed to take the reins.
“Having worked in numerous senior roles in Melbourne, with a focus on administration, strategic planning, project management, purchasing and events management, Terry Grace will bring a valuable armoury of knowledge to the role,” former CEO, Ralph Gallagher said.
“Club members, community leaders, the management committee, regular patrons and staff can all be confident the club is a very strong component of country racing. It is truly the home of thoroughbred racing in beautiful South Gippsland.
“I have completed some six seasons as CEO and I will now return to my retirement. My capacity to do all of those things I wish to do is constrained – no doubt, at least partly, the price of an extended membership of the chemo café.”
The club has race meetings on December 6 and 27 in 2014, and January 5, March 8 and April 7, 2015.
• check out the Stony Creek Racing Club’s website: www.scrc.com.au for information about hospitality packages.
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