Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Chance Comment Leads to Prime Racing Club Job; Ballina's Loss Is Scone's Gain as Wills Lands Plumb Job of Secretary/manager

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Chance Comment Leads to Prime Racing Club Job; Ballina's Loss Is Scone's Gain as Wills Lands Plumb Job of Secretary/manager

Article excerpt

Byline: RICHMOND RACING Grahame timbrell

A CHANCE comment at a breakfast meeting led to Ballina's Sarah Wills landing the most coveted job in country racing in Australia a secretary/manager of Scone Race Club.

Several months ago, Wills mentioned to a colleague that she would like to move back to the Hunter Valley.

Her partner, James Balfe, was returning to his old job as a farrier at Coolmore Stud and she was missing her friends.

Some time later that colleague was at a breakfast meeting with the president of Scone Race Club, Noel Leckie, and the conversation with Wills was repeated.

Only weeks later Helen Sinclair resigned as Scone's secretary/manager and Leckie, recalling the breakfast conversation, made contact with Wills.

A meeting was organised and Wills landed the job.

aSarah has an incredibly impressive CV,a Leckie said.

aShe has worked in the thoroughbred industry all over the world and has just the experience we are looking for.

aShe has done a great job at Ballina under difficult circumstances and comes highly recommended.a

Wills will be moving to Australia's wealthiest and most progressive country race club and the only club in Australia to run a two-day carnival with metropolitan status.

Part of Wills' job will be to take the carnival to the next level in terms of even greater prize money, help promote the feature races to Group status and find ways to reach an even broader cross-section of owners and trainers.

Wills will also be managing one of country racing's best courses and training centres.

She will be surrounded by Australia's biggest studs, with many of them backing the Scone carnival with sponsorship, while several of the owners of those studs serve on the Scone committee.

And there are fewer better credentialed or better connected presidents than Leckie. …

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