MAN OF EXPERIENCE: Arnie Dingle, patron of the Monto Race Club, has been involved with the races since he was 15.
MAN OF EXPERIENCE: Arnie Dingle, patron of the Monto Race Club, has been involved with the races since he was 15. Jack Lawrie

Race history straight from horse's mouth

AS a respected patron of the races, Arnie Dingle is still active, announcing the prizes at Monto Race Club's annual meet.

Growing up at Abercorn, Mr Dingle, 84, has been involved in the races since he was a jockey at the age of 15.

When he started, the Monto Race track had no tower, no photo finish and a rope start barrier.

In those days, the judges' decision was final.

"However they see it, it goes,” he said.

He was only a jockey for five years, so he took on a trainer's license after that.

He was a trainer up until around the 1970s, mostly training horses he part-owned or managed on his Abercorn property.

From there, his career took him into the big leagues, moving from five-year secretary of the Eidsvold Race Club in 1970, to a two-year stint as treasurer before being offered a role as steward and handicapper for the Rockhampton Jockey Club.

He was also president of the Central District Racing Association for eight years, covering the Monto, Banana and Thangool area.

"When I became interested in the administration part I gave the trainer's license away, but I trained for quite a number of years,” he said.

"In my time, I handicapped 15,000 horses over 16 years. I've got all the horses I handicapped over the years in a book.”

Being involved with the races for so long, Mr Dingle has come to see the meaning of club administration change.

The biggest change was State Government taking over management of the races in the '90s.

"Many of the clubs were either asked to shut or they shut on their own accord,” Mr Dingle said.

"You knew it was going to happen. They put so many specifications on what the clubs had to do for voluntary work and they can't afford it.”

With many of the clubs folded, country racing thrives on its support from community members.

As a patron, Mr Dingle is happy to leave management in the hands of the current Race Club, while he provides advice where needed.

Regarding the $106,666 grant from the budget, Mr Dingle hopes it means Queensland Racing intends to keep the club going.

"The fact they're putting that much money to bring the facilities up to their standards, it shows that Monto will be racing for a fair few years yet,” he said.


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