A look back on last Thursday's Victorian Wakeful Club with Racing Victoria Lady of Racing Awards Luncheon by the Victorian Wakeful Club President Christine Downing...

Christine Downing, President of the Victorian Wakeful Club
pictured with 2018 Lady of Racing winner Amanda Elliott


"What a wonderful event the 2018 Lady of Racing Award Luncheon was.  The celebration of women and the amazing work that so many do within the racing industry, and to be with so many supporters on International Women’s Day was a bonus.

It has been a pleasure to work with Racing Victoria this year to ensure this event is bigger and better than ever and this partnership has provided a fantastic platform to further promote our role and the role of all those women in the industry to a wider audience.  

This year, we were astounded by the number and calibre of award nominees received. We were thrilled to receive a record 20 nominations.  

Culling this to a Top 4 and eventual winner was no mean feat. Our finalists showcase the diverse range of career and volunteer opportunities within this industry.

The four finalists were

  • Former jockey, fashions on the field MC and equine commentator, Casey Bruce

  • First female Chairman of the Victorian Racing Club, Amanda Elliott

  • Jackie Noonan who volunteers uncountable hours to the Wycheproof community

  • Teresa Poon was instrumental in the creation and continuation of the Australian Chinese Jockey Club and a recent appointment to the Board of the Melbourne Racing Club

I thank my fellow selection panellists for their efforts – Racing Victoria CEO Giles Thompson, Australian Trainers Association CEO Andrew Nicholl, and my two fellow Committee members Briga Fliedner and Katrina Crosby.

It was a difficult decision to chose just one winner, but that winner was Amanda Elliot who I know will promote this award and continue to champion the role of women in the Racing and Breeding Industry

Thank you to all the nominees for their work in the industry and thank you to those that took the time to nominate.

This year we introduced the “Spirit of Racing Award” to recognise those who in their own small way have added another dimension to the Racing Industry.  This year’s winner was Udyta Clarke and her story is an inspiration to all.

Our special guest Oscar Award Nominee, Rachel Griffith who along with Michelle Payne added a touch of “Hollywood” to the day, as they spoke about the up-coming movie “Ride Like a Girl”.  Giaan Rooney was a well informed and entertaining MC, and to find out that her Great Aunt, Robyn Levett, was our first Wakeful Club Lady of Racing Award winner was an amazing surprise.

I would also like to thank all the Members of the Committee who have been instrumental in pulling this event together.  And a huge thank you to all of those who attended the Award Luncheon and we hope to see you all again next year."


                                                                                                                  Christine Downing