PROMINENT Warrnambool businessman and horse trainer Mark Primmer has lost his 16-month battle with cancer.
Mr Primmer, 48, died surrounded by his family at Warrnambool’s St John Of God Hospital on Thursday night.
He was a successful real estate agent, former Old Collegians footballer, former vice-chairman of Warrnambool Racing Club and more recently shared a racehorse training partnership with his son Brenton.
Just three weeks ago the family was celebrating the Coleraine Cup win of their veteran galloper Orientaped.
Mr Primmer will be remembered for his positive and friendly nature and determination that led him to maintain his racing interests as he confronted cancer.
He produced an emotional postscript on the first day of this year’s May Racing Carnival when he choked back tears after cheering stable galloper Junction Jack to victory.
He revealed then he would never be cured and took a long-held dream of an overseas cruise with his devoted wife Rose.
Long-time friend and fellow businessman Peter Clancey described Mr Primmer as unique.
“My first memories of Mark go back to when we attended the Christian Brothers in grade three,” Mr Clancey said.
“We’ve been mates since then.
‘‘We played junior and senior footy together.
‘‘He was a champion bloke who could always find a positive in things, even with his illness.
‘‘Mark was a very resilient person.
“He had a very close-knit family in there supporting him.
“His wife Rose is a wonderful person. She’s a bit like Mark, she keeps on looking for positives in any situation.”
Victoria Jockeys Association chief executive officer Des O’Keefe, who raced many horses with the Primmer family, including Orientaped, said Mr Primmer was a quality person.
“Mark had the unique ability of taking things on the chin and getting on with life,” Mr O’Keefe said.
‘‘I never heard him complain about any of the things which have happened over the years.
“Mark would expect everyone to hold their heads up high and march forward.
‘‘He was a very kind and thoughtful person.
‘‘I would say Orientaped kept on lifting the Primmer family when he raced.
‘‘Orientaped is like Mark — a real fighter.”
Fellow Warrnambool trainer Peter Lafferty said Mr Primmer was an inspiration to many people.
“Mark was just a lovely bloke,” Mr Lafferty said.
“I went to school with him and I always admired his principles in work and sport.
“He fought a brave fight — never took a backward step at any stage.”
Warrnambool Racing Club chairman Des Roberts said Mr Primmer had played an important role at the club.
“Mark was on the committee for a fair few years,” Mr Roberts said.
“He is a former vice-chairman.
‘‘The committee, staff and members of the racing club are deeply saddened by his passing.
“Mark was a passionate racing follower who was forging a successful training career with his son Brenton.
‘‘His passing is a sad time for many people who he helped and supported during his life.”
Seven years ago Brenton, who was a promising apprentice jockey, had a horrific race fall at Warrnambool which led to him spending two months in a coma before being diagnosed with head and spinal injuries.
Orientaped’s win in the Coleraine Cup on September 29 was the last victory for the father-and- son training combination
Mr Primmer is survived by his wife Rose and children Brenton, Jenna, Amanda and Billy.