Watts saddles-up for role of Jockey Club president

Andrew Watts is looking forward to stepping into his role as Longreach Jockey Club president from 2021.

Since buying his first greyhound in 1997 at the ageof 17, Mr Watts has been heavily involved in the horse and greyhound racingindustries, presenting for On The Bit Racing Australia since calling his firstrace at Longreach in December 2015.

He was also honoured as Media Person of the Yearduring the 2020 On The Bit Racing Australia Queensland Country Racing GalaAwards in February.

Mr Watts was elected at the recent LJC annualmeeting and replaces outgoing president, Rob Luck, who will remain on thecommittee as vice-president.

“Rob was always going to step down as president and had approached me some time ago about taking on the role,” Mr Watts said. “A big thank you has to go out to Rob for staying on as vice-president. There’s a lot of knowledge he can pass on through the role.

“The Jockey Club is in a very unique position where a lot of the hard yards have been done over the past eight years by Rob and his team. They have really built it into a great club.”

The 23-year racing veteran said one of his main goals as LJC president would be to increase attendance numbers across the region.

“At this stage, we’ve got to consider Covid-19 as the new norm,” Mr Watts said. “Applications such as Eventbrite will be here to stay, but hopefully we will be able to keep attendance high here in Longreach.

“Racing has kept thriving throughout Covid-19 and we’re eager to continue that positive interest in the sport.

“We also have some great annual meetings in the Central West such as Alpha, Ilfracombe and Jundah, and we want them to prosper in 2021.”

Mr Watts also confirmed that Fashions on the Field, a staple of city and country race meetings, would remain a top priority for the Jockey Club.

“We know a lot of people who attend race meetings aren’t interested in the horses, and one aspect that keeps them coming back is Fashions on the Field,” he said. “We are working on our new sub-committee for Fashions as people love them and they add a dimension to the day.

“Whether it is the Longreach Cup, or the beach-themed races, Fashions on the Field are really important and will remain as one of our main goals.”

Mr Watts encouraged race fans to secure their tickets for 2021 race meetings by becoming a member of the LJC.

“The Longreach races attract people of all ages and we wanted to offer membership options that cater for families, as well as the young and young at heart,” he said.

“The Longreach Cup meeting is a calendar highlight for the community, but unfortunately we still don’t know what the future holds around event capacity. Membership is a great opportunity to secure your tickets well in advance.”

LJC memberships include entry to all nine race meetings in 2021 and costs $55 per person (18-plus), or $99 for two adults and two children. Further information can be found by contacting 0467 566 728, or by visiting LJC’s Eventbrite page.