Day At The Track

Lang gala event put on hold

12:00 PM 16 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Gavin Lang,Harness racing

Tomorrow night's planned special Gavin Lang fundraiser and sportsman's gala event at Tabcorp Park Melton has been postponed in light of the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation - but organizers are determined to come up with an exciting alternative.

The event coordinator Steve Cleave said it was disappointing the pandemic had disrupted the plans, but organisers are working towards the key fundraiser event going ahead in an altered format.

"The bottom line was there would have been over 350 people in one area for the fundraiser. That was a huge concern, in keeping with the Government guidelines we decided not to go ahead," Cleave said.

"We are still raising money through the mega raffle and on-line silent auction and a few ideas have been tossed about such as a televised live auction, but we will be making an announcement soon."

Cleave, who is also a trainer and driver, said a number of new items had been added to the silent auction which was still receiving bids.

"The support people are throwing at the fundraiser has been terrific. There's harness racing items, stallion services and some brilliant football memorabilia that would have to appeal to those types of punters," he said.

"We're urging everyone to have a look at what's been listed for auction, and anyone interested in a particular item can have a crack.

"People can still buy raffle tickets, and there is a fantastic list of prizes there."

Legendary reinsman Gavin Lang has faced many battles on the racetrack but is now facing his greatest challenge with a rare type of lymphoma.

Industry participants and supporters have rallied over the past few months to raise more than $100,000 to assist Lang to obtain expensive treatment from USA. Lang has so far endured a series of intense chemotherapy but is said to be in good spirits.

The 60-year-old is an icon of the sport, and followed in the footsteps of his famous father Graeme. (Daddy Lang, as Graeme was often referred, was recently dealt a cruel hand himself, suffering a severe stroke).

 

"Yes I got into the game through family involvement. My father was a trainer-driver, while his dad owned horses back in the day," Gavin Lang said in one of his many media interviews.

He was quick to heap praise on his dad who he credits as being the main influence in "helping get me to where I am".

And not many of the harness racing diehards would possibly remember, but Gavin prepared his first winner as a trainer when just an 18-year-old. He has since mainly been a driver, although in the past decade has enjoyed the role of trainer again.

Lang has never been drawn into nominating the best horse he's driven over the years.

In his well-known pleasant and precise manner, he said: "That's a tough question. I've driven a lot of very good ones at various stages of their careers. I won a 3yo race at Stawell one day on My Lightning Blue, who went on and won an InterDominion.

"I could say that one of the best for me personally was Floreat who I paid $14k for at the yearling sales. She won 7 of her first 10 starts and over $210,000.

"That was about 28 years ago and the money I earnt, set me up no doubt."

Floreat, sired by Sokys Atom, out of the dam Shu Fly, won $150,000 when taking out the Fosters Australian Gold Series 2 Fillies Final at Albion Park on April 25, 1992.

"Another one I have high regard for was Persistency. I trained him and he had a lot of injuries, but managed to win two Group One events as a nine-year-old," Lang said.

Lang remarked that it was fantastic to see more and more young people who don't have family involvement getting into harness racing.

"The Gippsland Harness Training Centre, and another at Bendigo, have played a big part in opening up an opportunity for these youngsters," he said.

"People in the industry just love the animals like they are one of the family. I had many girls work for me over the years because they are so caring and patient with horses.

"Sky channel and social media has also played big roles. When I travelled far and wide with my race driving engagements, people would come up to chat because they had seen me doing interviews and thought because of this they knew me!"

Raffle tickets and silent auction bidding is available now at https://app.galabid.com/gav/items

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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