Book captures colour of country racing, as well as raising funds to restore Camperdown grandstand

THREE of Australia’s best rural photographers have captured the colour, spirit and atmosphere of grassroots racing in a new book focused on the annual Camperdown Cup.

Photographers Andrew Chapman, Noel Butcher and Jaime Murcia were assigned to the job of capturing the 2013 event in a quality coffee-table style publication.

It was the brainchild of good mates John Daffy and Adam Testro who came up with the novel idea to help raise funds to restore the 110-year-old grandstand at the Camperdown racecourse.

The 192-page, full-colour book not only covers all the action from the cup meeting but some of the town’s notable old buildings including three magnificent historic homesteads.

Talindert, a property made famous by Sir Chester Manifold, is an imposing homestead which has beautifully crafted stables that have been quiet and empty since his death in 1979. Sir Chester was among the most influential racehorse owners and breeders in the nation and led the charge to legalise off-course betting.

Andrew Chirnside owned Newminster Park, which was the home of many fine gallopers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

The stables at Newminster Park have not housed horses for the best part of 80 years, but the grand old doors on the horse boxes are a reminder that no expense was spared when they were being built.

Meningoort is an elaborate bluestone mansion built between 1860 and 1880. A few hundred metres from the mansion are the timber stables where the famous mare Chicquita was bred by Sir Gordon McArthur. A headstone down a gravel path from the historic stables marks the final resting place of the champion mare.

John Daffy, the son of leading Camperdown trainer Geoff, said the book would appeal to people from various walks of life.

“The book captures what grassroots racing is all about,” Daffy explained.

“The volunteer aspect of grassroots racing is a big thing in any country racing club. We feel we’ve captured it, plus other aspects relating to the excitement and colour of a country race day.

“We’ve received some great feedback from people who have already seen the book. 

“We’re sure the book will appeal to all residents of Camperdown and district as it gives a great snapshot of some of the historic buildings which are in the town.”

Daffy said profits from the sale of books would go a long way towards restoration work on the magnificent grandstand.

“My first memories of going to a race meeting at Camperdown were back in the early 1970s when I was a child and I can still remember sitting in the grandstand and thinking it was a wonderful building. 

“I knew the building was special back than and I still do today. We hope to have stairs installed for next year’s Camperdown Cup so patrons can once again sit in the stand and enjoy a day at a grassroots race meeting.”

The book, Camperdown And Its Cup, will be for sale at next Saturday’s Camperdown Cup meeting. It can also be purchased at the Camperdown Newsagency, or online at Camperdownanditscup.com

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