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Client in Focus: Gosford Race Club – Celebrating 100 Years Posted on October 9, 2018


The GRC held its first meeting in 1913 and since then has consistently been a leader in provincial racing outside the metropolitan area. 

To celebrate the Centenary, the Gosford Race Club will hold a celebration dinner at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Terrigal on Saturday 23 November 2013. The event will be hosted by Sky Racing personality Greg Radley and the special guest will be former Australian cricketer and prominent racehorse owner, Mark Waugh. The evening will also feature comedian and magician Phil Cass and music from the 20th Century Band. 

“We wanted to celebrate this wonderful milestone with a special event and whilst recognising our past, we need to ensure we plan carefully for our future taking into account the way the racing industry is evolving,” James states. 

To that end the Gosford Race Club Board and CEO have focussed on constantly reviewing and updating the Clubs strategic direction and the following items will play a large part in its future success.

  • Positioning the Club as a multi faceted community based business rather than just focusing on racing

  • Repositioning and repackaging the branding and marketing of the venue

  • Recognising and confronting the decline of the “racing” side of the business. It’s a sad reality that in 2013 a Club cannot trade profitability from its racing activities alone under the funding structure currently in place. We are not prepared to allow this to be an excuse as to why can’t be a successful business despite this.

It is recognised that whilst zoning approval has now been received to host up to 14 major infield events each year, the Club is in the process of finalising a blanket DA for Council approval that will outline traffic, parking, noise issues etc. to allow major infield events to be conducted.

Events not limited to but focusing on the following will be targeted:

  • Music Festivals

  • Concerts

  • Caravan & Camping Shows

  • Community Events (Flora Festival, Growers Markets etc)

 The Club has also commenced Stage 1 of a “Street Appeal” focus on upgrading infrastructure and in that regard the following works will be undertaken as part of this stage:

  • Demolish the Brasserie building and renew the landscaping of this new area

  • Demolish admin and adjoining buildings and create new marquee lawn

  • New admin offices as extension of race day office New entry turnstiles and site works

  • New Members Stand Roof

  • New fence along Racecourse Road

The estimated costs for these works are $2 million, which would also include an upgrade of some operational equipment. This development will be fully funded by the Club and it is felt this work could commence after Anzac Day 2014.

In 2010 the GRC and Mr. Heddo made a decision that in order to realise the goals they had set, they needed expert advice and modernised monthly management information, delivered in a timely manner.

They engaged Robson Partners to become their Outsourced Chief Financial Officer (CFO), to provide them with streamlined accounts as well as providing a more financially viable solution.

“The best thing about having our own CFO, is that we receive a detailed explanation of what the figures mean in addition to having a “new” set of eyes interpreting our results”

“This has assisted the Club greatly in planning for our future direction.”

The outsourced CFO program has enabled the executive team to formalise strategic direction for the club, make savings of approximately 50k annually on wages, and put a structure in place to ensure ongoing viability.

Mr. Heddo sums up the club, “We need to create a niche for ourselves, a point of difference from other race clubs, and we are well on way to achieving this.”

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