Day At The Track

First dedicated harness racing clergyman

07:02 AM 14 Apr 2013 NZST
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'Sydney father-of-five Gary Bennetts becomes the world's very first dedicated harness racing clergyman with his appointment as the inaugural racecourse chaplain to Sydney's Bankstown Paceway,' Bankstown Paceway director Megan Lavender has announced.

‘As the son of a horse trainer and the local church pastor at St Martin’s Georges Hall in Sydney’s south west, the Reverend Bennetts shares a passion for both the ministry and all things equine – and, last November, he hosted the first ever Harness Racing Spring Carnival Church Service prior to the Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial at his Georges Hall Anglican church,’ Ms Lavender told Harnesslink.

‘As part of Australia’s six billion dollar equine industry, Bankstown Paceway acknowledges and recognises that we owe a duty of care and compassion to our hardworking industry participants and stakeholders – the men and women of harness racing – who are people with many complex and diverse needs and issues some of which can range from substance abuse and gambling problems to loneliness and financial hardship,’ Ms Lavender said.

‘Accordingly, Bankstown Paceway is delighted to have, personified in Gary Bennetts, a man of both the cloth and the saddle cloth – and Gary’s role as our new racecourse chaplain, his faith and his message of salvation, we believe, can and will bring new life and hope to everyone,’ she said.

‘Sydney’s standardbred stable workers – our track work drivers, our racing reinsmen, our stable hands and our trainers – all have many personal, social and human needs that are best met by a skilled chaplain as part of Bankstown Paceway’s team of dedicated human resource professionals,’ Ms Lavender added.

Bankstown Paceway’s new racecourse chaplain, the Reverend Gary Bennetts, will be on track at all race meetings and can also be contacted at St Martin’s Anglican Church, Georges Hall.

by Megan J. LAVENDER

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