Day At The Track

Mates pay tribute to Tiffany on Cup night

04:48 PM 06 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Tiffany Murray and Milla
Tiffany Murray and Milla

Tiffany Murray, a young, brave mother who lost a short battle with illness in October, 2011, was a fighter to the end. A harness racing event named in Tiffany’s memory will be hotly contested by six determined female drivers when it’s again staged during the Echuca Cup meeting this Friday night.

“This is a race that is very close to my heart and I would give anything to win it,” Stacey Towers, of Shepparton, said.

“Tiffany was a lovely person and became a real friend,” she said.

“She was down to earth and full of life.”

The Tiffany Murray Memorial race was first staged in 2012, and Towers said it was a race that carried significance for all of the invited contestants.

Towers will be joined in the feature by Bec Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Monique Burnett, Donna Castles and Tania Ward – all of whom were great friends of Tiffany, a concession driver before being tragically struck down by cancer.

“I’ve had absolutely no joy in this race over the past few years. I even drew my own horse on one occasion, and thought I had some chance, but he dropped out and went terrible,” Towers said.

“While I’m desperate to do well, I know all the other girls are just as keen and want to win. So there’s going to be plenty of fireworks.”

Tiffany Murray’s battle with cancer captured the support of not only the harness racing industry, but anyone who learnt of her battle.

She was initially flown to Melbourne after collapsing with a migraine and doctors discovered a blood clot and tumor on her brain.

It was her third time encounter with life-threatening illness – first as a one-year-old when she was diagnosed with a rare cancer, only to have it removed and to return seven years later.

When Tiffany was just 17, her mother died from cancer.

But despite the diagnosis and with her fiancé Leigh Sutton, and daughter Milla, by her side, Tiffany refused to remain anything else but positive, because “there’s no point in being negative”.

In her final weeks of life, she said “she had to be determined, otherwise there is no point – I think if you’re not going to have a crack, then why bother?”.

The attitude and determination of a remarkable young lady inspired those who knew her, others who had followed her career – but just as many who didn’t know her at all.

Sutton, who is now based at Menangle, will also be centre stage at the Echuca meeting, driving Tamworth trained pacer Gottashopearly in the $35,000 Cup.

The pair combined to finish a close-up sixth in the recent Goulburn Cup. Prior to that, Gottashopearly gave trainer Richard Williams victory in his hometown cup worth $12,000.

Sutton will also take the reins for Williams in the c3 to c5 event with Midnight Montana. In the co race, Sutton will drive Cozza Grin for young trainer Jake Mitchell.

While Tiffany Murray will be remembered fondly by all at the meeting, emotions are sure to be running high.

“I think there’s going to be a big number of family members of both Leigh and Tiffany attending – we’ve heard it’s going to be one big family catch-up,” Stacey Towers said.

“There’s always a bit of sadness, but it will be fun and plenty of laughs; just the way Tiffany would have wanted!”

Terry Gange

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