May racing carnival goes Wilde for 2014

REBECCA WILDE, daughter of Warrnambool-based trainer Bill Wilde and wife Karen, will be the face of this year’s May Racing Carnival.

She will be joined by high-profile racing identity Bob Charley who will be ambassador for the famous event.

Mr Charley, 75, who has an extensive background in racing including as an administrator, trainer, owner, bookmaker and punter, said he was delighted to fill the role for the Warrnambool Racing Club.

“It was a real surprise when Warrnambool got in contact with me and asked if I wished to be the ambassador,’’ the Port Macquarie resident said. 

‘‘The carnival is one of the greatest racing carnivals in the world. I’ve been to race meetings all over the world and I rate the Grand Annual Steeplechase as the most spectacular race in the world. 

‘‘The twists, turns, up and down hills make it such a wonderful race.”

Ms Wilde, 31, said she was shocked.

 “To be the face of the carnival had not been on my radar,’’ she said.

“I was just going to go to the races and enjoy the experience of another carnival which has been a tradition for me and my family all my life and out of the blue I’m asked to be the face of the carnival.

“It’s very exciting. 

‘‘I gave mum a quick call to tell her what has happened and she is really excited for me, which is great.’’

Mr Charley was chairman of the Australian Jockey Club from 1992-97, chairman of Racing New South Wales in 1997-98 and chairman of the Australian Racing Board  from 1998 to 2006 and is a passionate jumps fan.

Warrnambool Racing Club chief executive officer John Green said the club was pleased both Mr Charley and Ms Wilde were happy to fill the roles.

“Bob and Rebecca are great people to be the ambassador and the face of the carnival,” Green said. 

‘‘They both love their racing and are keen supporters of our carnival. We’re confident they will both  promote our carnival far and wide to people from all walks of life.”

Green predicted this year’s carnival may be one of the biggest in the club’s history.

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