Day At The Track

Tasmania harness racing stalwart honoured by HRA

01:46 AM 21 Jun 2016 NZST
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Chester Bullock (left) with Tasracing Chairman Dean Cooper after the presentation at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night.jpg
Chester Bullock (left) with Tasracing Chairman Dean Cooper after the presentation at the Luxbet Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night

One of Tasmania's most popular harness racing protagonists Chester Bullock was this week honoured for his service to the industry.

A long term active participant in many aspects of Tasmanian harness racing including ownership, breeding, training, and administration and sponsorship has been honoured with a Distinguished Service Award from Harness Racing Australia (HRA).

Bullock was born at St Marys in 1948. His father, Keith (Cardinal), was the St Marys Trotting Club Treasurer and his mother, Doris, loved to have a small wager on horse racing. With that background, Bullock quickly developed a passion for racehorses. He spent much of his youth at St Marys at the harness stables of Linton Bullock and Eric Bean.

Bullock moved to Launceston when he was 16 years of age. His first purchase was a harness yearling, Thunder Fame, which eventually won two races in 1984 when trained by Eric Bean.

Bullock acquired more mares, yearlings and racehorses and in 1986 decided to buy some land at Riverside to accommodate his rapidly expanding harness operation.

A 1,100 metre track was constructed on the flats adjoining the Tamar River, where Jack Stamford previously trained, and the first of many prominent trainers took up residence at the Bullock training establishment. David Angus was the initial trainer and Mark Stanley, Rohan Hadley, James Rattray, Todd Rattray, Sam Freeman and Tim Yole all had stints training from the Bullock property.

Bullock acquired his training license in 1990 and has prepared many winners from the complex. They include Cardinal Nelson (10 wins) and Cardinal Tucker (7 wins). Another, Cardinal Phoenix, showed enormous potential at his only race start as a two year old defeating Prodigious (2001 Tasmanian Pacing) Championship and Mountain Glory (Dual Tasmanian Horse Of The Year). Bullock is training approximately 15 horses at present with assistance from Duncan Dornauf, Wade Rattray and his daughter Julia Bullock and son-in-law Ryan Wilkinson.

In 1998, Bullock and his daughter Julia established an AI Breeding Station at the Riverside property. Since then, Fred and Pauline Barker, Trevor Leis, Doug McKillop, Lloyd Whish-Wilson, Rick and Naomi Hinds and Dennis Mahoney have been some of the many prominent Tasmanian breeders who have used the facility.

Bullock has also had a significant role in racing administration. It commenced at the Launceston Pacing Club (LPC) at Elphin in 1984. Three years later he resigned from the committee while he filled the position of Project Manager for the new Mowbray Racing Complex including the 1,000 metre harness track. He returned to the LPC committee in 2000 until the present day and has recently been appointed President. He is also the current Patron of the LPC as well as Patron of the Carrick Park Pacing Club.

He joined the Northern Tasmanian Light Harness Association in 1995 where he has served 21 years as President.

In 2006, he joined a group of participants to establish the Tasmanian division of the Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association (BOTRA) and he was immediately elected President and served seven years in the role.

Since 2009, Bullock has represented the LPC and/or NTLHA at the quarterly Tasracing Harness Industry Forum meetings and he is also a member of the Tasracing Harness Yearling Sale Working Group.

Bullock, through his company Bullock Consulting (now 6tyo), has been one of the major harness sponsors in Tasmania over the last 16 years. His sponsorship has extended to all clubs in North and North West Tasmania with some of his more prominent exposure being through the Bullock Consulting Youngbloods series (16 years), the Bullock Consulting Bandbox at Launceston (21 years), the Bullock Consulting Devonport Cup, the Bullock Consulting Burnie Cup, the Bullock Consulting Country Guineas (St Marys) and many other races and the Fashions of the Field (Scottsdale and Burnie).

Peter Staples

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