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Evening folks, The Bill Whittaker Book Award for 2022 goes to Pioneers and Racecourses for Bob Charleys ‘early racecourses in Australia and the people who shaped them.’

‘Pioneers & Racecourses is a beautifully produced, folio-sized, coffee-table-type book of 204 pages’ said Graham Caves of The Bill Whittaker Book Awards.

‘It brings to life the people, the racehorses and importantly the racecourses on which racing began in all of the colonies of Australia, that previously was barely recorded.’

‘That has never been done before and greatly adds to the knowledge of Australian racing history of our racecourses and those who made it happened.’

‘It abounds in coloured portraits, maps of old racecourses, photographs of antique racing trophies and many drawings and paintings of the time.’

In being awarded this biannual Bill Whittaker Book Award, Pioneers and Racecourses was the best new book that added to the knowledge of Australian racing history.

In also meeting the added criteria of being well written and well produced, it’s just one of 14 books published on horse racing in Australia and New Zealand in 2020 and 2021.

Second prize for 2022 was William Rutledge’s A Passion for Thoroughbreds that covered the Rutledge family from the champion Yattendon and his owner Thomas Rutledge in the 1860s.

Tracing through AJC Chairmen Sir Adrian Knox and Sir Colin Stephen it continued though the family’s involvement in the Tiranna picnic races, and now the racehorses Advocate and Salamanca.

In this Bob Charleys second Bill Whittaker Award, having won with Horses & Champions in 2016, with Keith Paterson first with The Master’s Touch in 2010 and 2012 Jessica Owers for Peter Pan.

John Adams for Over the Hurdles and Jessica Owers for Shannon jointly took out the Award in 2014, followed by Ken Linnett for Tulloch in 2018 and in 2020 John Payne with Their Last Ride.

Named in honour of Bill Whittaker, these is no doubting Bill was one of Australia’s most prominent racing journalists-writers from the 1950s through to his passing in 2009.

An expert on the legendary Phar Lap and his observations and musings about the champion were renowned, and his knowledge of racing was truly encyclopaedic.

Bill was a racing historian and loved writing about the historic racing days of old through the champions Bernborough, Tulloch, Kingston Town and rated Tulloch the best of them all.

In being a friendly and helpful man, Bill was generous to any young writer or racing enthusiast, having covered galloping and harness racing chiefly with the Sydney Morning Herald from 1959.

However, author Bob Charley needs no introduction for in 2000 he was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Australia for his services to thoroughbred horse racing.

With the Bob Charley AO Stakes run at Royal Randwick, he was Chairman of the AJC, Racing NSW, Racing Australia, Trustee of Randwick Racecourse and Racing Hall of Fame inductee.

In fact, Bob Charley has been immersed in horse racing beginning as a schoolboy passion, through the legendary Legal Eagles punting syndicate, a journalist in radio and television and an owner.

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