Race run in honour of a 'quintessential good bloke'
RACING: The last race at Grafton took on extra significance on Monday with the race held in honour of Warwick Hall.
The 72-year-old suffered a heart attack while driving home on May 21 from Port Macquarie with his partner Jan Finneran. His funeral and wake was held at Clarence River Jockey Club on Saturday.
Originally from Fairfield in Sydney, Hall had only lived in the Clarence Valley a short while, but made a huge impression on a lot of people in the local horse racing and greyhound industries.
Grafton trainers Jason Reilly and Alan Ryan combined to put forward a trophy for the winner of race eight, called In Memory Of Warwick Hall Class 2 Handicap.
"Warwick used to come to the track and bring us cups of coffee and he also had a horse (Knight Templar) with Jason that won on the day of the accident," Ryan said.
"We just thought we'd show our appreciation for what he done while he was here and honour the bloke, because he was a great all round bloke."
Brilliant Jet ($11, Luke Rolls), trained by Aiden Nunn in Longford, Tasmania, won the 1720m race by a length ahead of locally John Shelton trained Arlington Heights ($5, Matthew Paget) out of John Shelton's stable and Daniel Want trained Defence Witness ($8.50, Carla Dougherty).
Close friends of Hall, including prominent greyhound trainer Dave Irwin, were on hand to present the trophy to Nunn.
"The chap we laid to rest on the weekend was a very friendly, genuine person who made friends wherever he went," Irwin said during the presentation.
"He was only here in Grafton for a couple of years, but he was a great bloke, a real family member and a personal friend to a lot of people in Grafton. It was the same everywhere he went."
"These people have bought the trophy and the club's just reciprocated unbelievable, with the funeral and wake here on Saturday, they couldn't have done enough for us. It was unbelievable."
CRJC executive officer Michael Beattie described Hall as the 'quintessential good bloke'.
"As I broke the sad news to people I kept getting the same response - 'who are you talking about?'
"To the girls in my office he was 'the passionfruit man'. To the corner shop lady he was 'three coffees for the boys at the track'. To one of my committee men he was 'I know who you mean, I had a yarn with him every meeting'.
"But they all had one thing in common - they knew Warwick was a good bloke."