Bathurst’s Gold Crown Carnival has achieved a unique place in the life of the Central West. This year will see the 28th running of this epic Harness Racing contest for two-year-old potential pacing superstars, and it may see history repeat itself – with a slightly different, and really appealing, twist.
When the 1990 Gold Crown was run, and won, in record time by a stunning young horse from New Zealand named “Master Musician”, people wondered about the future that lay ahead for this rising talent. And superstar Master Musician proved to be: he went on to win 34 races, approx $1.9m in prizemoney, and the enduring admiration of race fans on both sides of the Tasman.
Fast forward to this year’s Gold Crown Carnival, and there is every prospect that we will see an exciting step in the emergence of another “Master of Music” – a rising star with a future that could provide people of all generations with first-class entertainment for years to come. His name is Jai Waetford, a 14-year-old young Aussie who captured TV audiences in 2013 with a series of spectacular performances in Network Seven’s “The X-Factor Australia” Series, and whose star is clearly destined to lift to new heights.
This Saturday evening at the Bathurst Showground Paceway, Jai will give a live performance that promises to take the Gold Crown’s entertainment factor to a new level. And it is most appropriate that this will be the evening when Australia’s emerging crop of young pacers will also be competing in heats of the 2014 Gold Crown Series, and looking to secure their places in the Final scheduled for 29 March.
The Jai Waetford story is compelling – a youngster who was raised by his Mother, Alana, in Sydney’s South-West (his Father resides in Switzerland), and who graduated from an average childhood playing football, tennis and racing motor bikes to a blossoming career in the entertainment world. His interest in music was triggered by his education at Campbelltown Performing Arts High School, when his talent on the guitar and his extraordinary vocal ability culminated in the decision for Jai to participate, as a schoolboy, in the nationally acclaimed X-Factor Series. Given the opportunity, Jai really made his mark – he was placed in the top three performers in the Series, was promptly contracted to Sony Music Entertainment Australia, he achieved national success with his debut single “Your Eyes”, and is now preparing for an Australia-wide entertainment tour during April.
It is an astonishing achievement for any 14-year-old; but Jai Waetford isn’t the norm – he is a young Australian blessed with the talent to really entertain people of all ages and backgrounds. And he is coming to Bathurst.
As local Harness Racing Club Chief, Danny Dwyer, explained “We are always looking for opportunities to lift the Gold Crown entertainment factor, and to send people home with the feeling that their night at the Showground Paceway was really worthwhile”.
“We think Jai will be a massive addition to this year’s Carnival, and we are confident that the blend of his music, his talent and his personality will provide an enormous boost to overall enjoyment on this very special night’s racing.”
From all of us, Jai, welcome to Bathurst; good luck for the future and we hope that you and your Mother will leave with very special recollections of your visit to the Central West.
And for all the young (and not so young) fans, Jai says it is OK to take photo snaps of his performance.
Harness Racing New South Wales