Popular long-time racing administrator and horse owner Bill Rutledge has died aged 77 after a long illness.
Rutledge joined the board of the Gosford Race Club in 1966, beginning a long involvement in the industry during which he held the highest offices in NSW.
After 22 years with the Gosford club, Rutledge was elected to the Australian Jockey Club committee. Fifteen years later he was made chairman of the AJC and also the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Board, now Racing NSW.
Rutledge was a partner in a law practice in Gosford throughout his professional life and a consultant in his later years.
In 2005, he was recognised with a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the racing industry and to the community of the Gosford region.
“You would not have found a more passionate racing man than Bill Rutledge who was rarely far from the course on any given raceday,” Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’Landys said.
Australian Turf Club chief executive Darren Pearce acknowledged Rutledge’s passion for for the industry.
“Bill was one of racing’s true gentlemen, and someone who served the AJC and the NSW racing industry with enormous distinction,” he said.
“He had great passion for racing and for attending race meetings whenever he could, travelling far and wide across NSW.”
Rutledge, who died on Wednesday, is survived by his children Naomi, Robert, Virginia and their families.