Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Smith Is Fresh Face of Racing; Grump Stewards Era Over

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Smith Is Fresh Face of Racing; Grump Stewards Era Over

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony McMahon tmbsport@capnews.com.au

RACING: By inexplicable explanation, the old-time racing steward more often than not displayed a gruff persona and all too often treated industry stakeholders Co trainers, jockeys and stable hands Co somewhat with contempt.

While even to this day some of their ilk is unfortunately still operating, it is refreshing that the well-educated young stewards of the new millennium have etched along side their gospel Co the Rules of Racing Co the adjunct "lines of communication".

In layman's terms, "lines of communications" means listening and conversing with stakeholders rather than inflicting upon them self-opinionated decisions which all too often have lacked common sense.

The latest disciple of this creed is Karl Smith, 34, who last week took up a multi-skilled position with Racing Queensland Limited at its Rockhampton offices of Callaghan Park racecourse.

Now Smith is not just some new boy on the block Co very much to the contrary.

Actually, his open somewhat boyish face and youthful appearance gives no clue to his world-lines which includes a nine-year career with the Royal Australian Navy, in the main on HMAS Cairns.

"I had an overseas posting with the Navy in England for some time as well but mainly I was based at Cairns where I was fortunate to work part-time in racing roles," Smith said.

Raised in Casino in the heart of the Northern Rivers Racing Association in New South Wales, Smith's parents raced horses and as an early teenager he was a regular at the races in the area.

"I was always intrigued by the stewards and the administration of racing," Smith said.

"At 15, Lynne Bulmer, the secretary of the Casino Race Club introduced me to a steward named Cyril Watson and I started to help him out with the betting prices on the local races."

Before long at each of the Saturday race meetings around the Northern Rivers circuit, Smith became more of the stewards' "Boy Friday".

"Cyril and Michael Zarb would take me to the races and I became more and more interested," Smith said.

"I got the job developing the photo-finish prints and it went on from there. …

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