Bathurst Harness Racing Club this week announced that well-known and respected breeding figure John Coffey has accepted the club's invitation to be the 2014 Bathurst Gold Crown Honouree.
In making the announcement, the club's president Mark Collins stated," John Coffey is one of the most humble and unassuming people that I have met in harness racing."
However, under that quite and modest persona hides a man with drive and passion for this Industry and in particular the breeding side" Collins added.
"For John Coffey to be recognized as this year's Honouree is testimony to his contribution to the Industry and we are extremely honoured that he has accepted our invitation" Collins said
John becomes the twenty-fifth identity, but just the second from Western Australia, after Mick Lombardo in 1999, to be awarded Bathurst's "baggy green".
Gold Crown Honourees make up a select group that encompasses all aspects of the sport. There are trainer-drivers, like inaugural winner in 1990 Jim Caffyn; administrators, such as Ken Dyer in 1997; media personalities, likein the Bicentennial Year; breeders, like 2004 recipient Bob , and families, such as the Fitzpatricks in 2009.
A long-time administrator and successful studmaster and breeder in his home state, John served a number of years as assistant to Alan Galloway at Echuca-based Alabar Bloodstock, before returning there in 1996 as General Manager , a role he filled for 17 years.
He's regarded as one of the foremost breeding authorities in the Southern Hemisphere. Annual visits to North America, to keep abreast of racing and breeding developments there, have enabled him to acquire some outstanding sires for down-under breeders. He's equally well-regarded in that part of the world as he is here at home.
John Coffey is widely respected for being ethical, genuine and highly personable. He is generous with his time and knowledge, and motivated to serve the sport, as shown by his involvement with the Leigh Plunkett Foundation.
John has become a familiar, welcome figure in New South Wales, and particularly Bathurst, in recent years. He's been instrumental in Alabar's sponsorship of the Breeders Challenge and Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival, and the connection with Yirribee Pacing Stud in the Riverina, as well as conducting highly-informative breeding information nights for both Alabar and Bred In The Blue.
John Coffey will be inducted at the Honouree's Dinner, hosted by the Mayor of Bathurst, at the Bathurst RSL Club on Tueday, March 25, during Gold Crown Week.
Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |