Harness Racing Australia - Distinguished Service Awards

09 February 2016
Carl O'Dwyer (left) and Peter Bourke (right)

Carl O'Dwyer (left) and Peter Bourke (right)

Two well known Victorian administrators with a combined involvement with harness racing spanning more than a century have been honoured with Harness Racing Australia Distinguished Service awards.

Both men - Peter Bourke and Carl O'Dwyer - have been long time owners and breeders and among the administrative positions each has held has been more than a decade on the board of Harness Racing Victoria, both retiring in 2011.

Peter Bourke has spent a lifetime in the harness racing industry where he has carried out many roles and held many titles.

Joining the Harness Racing Victoria Board in December 2000 before completing his term in May 2011, Bourke and his fellow members were hit with some major hurdles during the last decade, eg. split TV vision, EI outbreak and the emergence of corporate internet bookmakers.

A champion of strong integrity functions and processes, he is also a staunch supporter of country racing and hardly has there been an industry event in country Victoria that Bourke has not attended on behalf of HRV.

Peter also holds the title of Chairman of the Australian Pacing Gold – the Standardbred sales company unchallenged as the most influential the Australian harness racing industry has to offer.

In addition to his many titles, Peter also bred and raced a number of racehorses over the years.

Carl O’Dwyer has been involved in the horse industry as a farrier for 50 years, with his main area of expertise specializing in problem horseshoeing of performance horses. His main passion is the Harness Racing industry and shoeing Standardbreds, both pacers and trotters.

In 1971, Carl formed O’Dwyer Horseshoe Sales Australia as he saw a need for mechanically produced horseshoes. O’Dwyer Horseshoes used state of the art technology in the form of automation in the manufacturing process to produce quality products. More recently, the company joined with Mustad Hoofcare SA and Carl is still involved as consultant on product development and performs several clinics each year for the company.

Carl has served on many committees in the Harness Racing industry, Farrier Industry and also the greater horse industry in Australia. He was a member for several years on the Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Committee (RIDIC), which was responsible for allocating funding to research in the Equine Industry within Australia.

In addition to being a Businessman and Farrier he has also been a successful Harness Racing Trainer and Driver. As a trainer he won a number of major Australian races including the Hunter Cup, Cochran Cup, Dullard Cup and the Consolation Inter Dominion Trot. With a foundation of experience across the industry and in business, this led Carl to a role as a Board member of Harness Racing Victoria (2001-2011).

In presenting the Distinguished Service awards to Mr Bourke and Mr O'Dwyer at Tabcorp Park Melton, HRA chairman Geoff Want paid tribute to their lengthy involvement in the sport. He said both men were highly regarded in the industry, they were passionate about and committed to fostering harness racing, and were worthy recipients of the award.


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