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Leahy ushers in new era at Murray Bridge

Murray Bridge Racing Club will enter the next chapter of its exciting new era this week with John Leahy taking over the Chairman’s role.

Leahy, who has served on the committee for 15 years, will replace Reg Nolan who stepped back into the role as Deputy Chair at Monday’s night meeting.

Leahy, a real estate agent by profession, said it was an exciting time for the progressive club following their move to Gifford Hill.

“We’ve got a really busy time in front of us, but we’re getting great support from TRSA,’’ Leahy said.

“We think we’re going to go from strength to strength from here,’’ he said.

Murray Bridge is fresh from a second Cup Day at Gifford Hill and Leahy said the day was another success in what has been trying times for racing across South Australia.

“Everyone has struggled a little bit with the restrictions (on crowds) that are in place, but we’re really just grateful to be racing to be honest,’’ Leahy added.

“South Australia has been lucky and fortunate to race through (COVID-19). We’re not making a lot of money, but that’s not the most important thing for the racing industry, that’s to keep racing going which has been good,’’ he said.

Nolan, who has served on the club’s committee for more than 25 years and 18 years as Chairman has been an instrumental part in the club’s successful shift from Maurice Road to its Gifford Hill facility in August last year.

“It’s been an exciting few years for the club,’’ Nolan said.

“Not many clubs around Australia have been able to achieve what we have but I think the time is right to step down and also try and get some youth onto the committee at the same time,’’ he said.

And Leahy said he was glad to have him sticking on in the deputy role.

“Reg is keen to ease his way out, not just cut ties, which I’m more than happy to support,’’ Leahy said.

“He’s been great for the club for a long period of time, but it’s time for a change and that’s just progression,’’ he said.

TRSA Chief Executive Officer Nick Redin said, “The industry owes a great deal to Reg. He has led the Club and Committee through the development of the new racetrack and facilities at Gifford Hill.

“He has helped deliver what is arguably one of the best race tracks currently in the country at the moment with more growth to come,’’ he said.

The next phase of Murray Bridge’s exciting future will be the opening of the $500,000 uphill sand training track which will officially be opened this weekend, another part of the State Government’s $24 million racing-industry stimulus package announced last year

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