Roy Mahoney OAM

Roy Mahoney OAM

Featured Image: Roy Mahoney as I remembered him. There are many varied ‘shaded areas’. This was redolent of Roy!

Roy Mahoney was inducted into the Newcastle and Hunter Racing Hall of Fame on Tuesday 30th May 2023 as an Associate together with John Messara of Arrowfield Stud.

See: Inductees of the Newcastle Hunter HOF – Newcastle and Hunter Racing Hall of Fame 

Chairman Roy Mahoney was the ultimate political animal. He had a sixth-sense awareness and compelling prescience of knowledge. I think he thought of issues before the ‘elected’ had even considered their deliberations.

When I first joined the Scone Race Club Committee circa 1970 (replacing Lionel Israel of Segenhoe) Roy was Chairman of the Newcastle Jockey Club (NJC) and the Newcastle, Hunter & Central Coast Racing Association which was the overarching gubernatorial body. Roy played his ‘hand of cards’ very well indeed cultivating relationships advantageous to his aspirations. Harry Hayes was a handy Lieutenant at Scone and his deputy at the NJC. Roy provided staff and equipment from his Newcastle Pub to operate the public bar at Scone’s White Park Racetrack. The quality of service never varied and was totally reliable as well as profitable for both the proponent Roy and the SRC!

Roy cultivated his cadre of friends and associates from a broad-based political spectrum. Newcastle City Mayor Joy Cummings was a good start. Local NSW State Labor Member Ken Booth MP representing Kurri Kurri provided easy access to the Premier Neville Wran. From here Roy was appointed to the nascent NSW TAB Board. Recognising the importance of betting turnover as pivotal to the financial success of race clubs Roy successfully negotiated the provision of on and off course TAB as well as the ‘best covered bookmakers betting ring including Randwick’ at Broadmeadow! There is no doubt that Roy Mahoney elevated racing at Broadmeadow to a new standard of excellence during his long jurisdiction at the Club.

The Australian Jockey Club (AJC) honoured Roy as the first recipient of the Sir James Carr award for services to country racing. He was Life Member of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA). On Australia Day in 1985 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to horse racing and the liquor industry. Naturally gregarious, Roy Mahoney was ‘held in great respect’ throughout the State with friends in all walks of life be they ‘politicians and punters, jockeys and judges, battlers and bureaucrats.’ I was a fortunate beneficiary of his guidance and largesse.

I only saw him ‘rattled’ on two occasions. AWU supremo Ernie Ecob was leading the charge on behalf of all ’employees’ in the racing industry for better pay and conditions. He might have had a case. Roy ‘deflected’ the danger to his hegemony by pitching (‘substituting’) trainer Pat Farrell’s brother Frank into the mix. It confused the issue and all ‘evidence’ was deemed inadmissible. Round I to Roy. The second occasion was when ‘colourful racing identity’, SP, punter and owner George Freeman was refused admission to the member’s enclosure at Broadmeadow. I think this one ended in a close tie and honourable draw? Neither proponent ‘lost face’!