KEEN: South Grafton Cup stalwart Barry Wormald gets back into the swing of it this year after a five-year hiatus.
KEEN: South Grafton Cup stalwart Barry Wormald gets back into the swing of it this year after a five-year hiatus.

Cup veteran back on track

By SALLY GORDON

sally.gordon@dailyexaminer.com.au

THERE was a time when former bookie Barry Wormald would have been familiar with pretty much every horse racing in a South Grafton Cup.

However, five years on from hanging up his bag, the long-time racing identity said he had looked at tomorrow's cup field and hardly recognised any of the horses.

After 23 years as a Grafton bookmaker and 12 years as secretary of the former South Grafton Jockey Club, Mr Wormald has happily swapped the scurry of the race track for the easy pace of the bowling green.

Tomorrow, the 70-year-old will take a trip down memory lane when he returns to watch the South Grafton Cup for the first time in years.

It is sure to be a much different experience to what it was 42 years ago, when the 29-year-old stepped up to the plate as the jockey club secretary.

"In those days the South Grafton Cup was on the Wednesday after the Grafton Cup, not on the Sunday before," Mr Wormald said.

"It's all different now; there's bigger stands and the people are spread out more.

"There used to be a lot more bookmakers, before the TAB, and there was no tote like there is today."

Mr Wormald said one of the biggest changes to horseracing over the years had been the mobility of trainers.

Back in his day, trainers and their horses would stay in Grafton for the entire two-week carnival.

"Now it's all hit and run, they come for the two main days and go back again," he said.

"If they have a horse, now it's over after the Grafton Cup; we used to have them here for a fortnight.

"It gave the town a full atmosphere with all the horse people in town."



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