Roma Trainer Wins Pat Duff Medal

Leading trainer and Roma Turf Club co-President Craig Smith has been honoured for his contribution to racing and willingness to help others in the industry after receiving an award from the state arm of the national trainer’s body.

Photo : Craig receiving award from Pat Duff

Last month, Craig was named the Pat Duff Medal winner for 2023 as the trainer who embodies the spirit of racing and “a bloke who would go above and beyond.” The trophy is awarded for contribution and promotion of the industry, and for offering support to those within it, in particular young riders and trainers.

Photo : Craig and Sandy at the presentation in Brisbane

Cameron Partington from the Queensland branch of the Australian Trainers’ Association said that the Medal acknowledges a trainer every year who goes out of their way to support others within the industry, especially when mentoring apprentices and assisting jockeys and other trainers. Cameron added “what Pat Duff has done for the racing industry in Queensland is huge, and his impact on racing is much more than training winners on a Saturday afternoon, it’s defined by the extra mile he often goes for people. Pat has done a lot for the industry in looking out for people and mentoring jockeys and other trainers right through his life and is well into his 80’s now. The Association wanted to honour Pat’s service to the industry in naming this medal after him and recognise his contribution to racing in Queensland.”

“I have known Pat Duff for more than 30 years, and there basically wouldn’t be a Queensland arm of the ATA without Pat” Cameron said. Pat Diff is a long-time president of the Association and has been a great mentor to younger trainers and apprentice jockeys, with multiple Group 1 winning hoop Jim Byrne cutting his teeth early in his career around the Pat Duff stables, while champion Hall Of Fame jockey Mick Dittman also spent time learning his craft under the guidance of Pat Duff.

Battle Of The Bush presentation

Craig Smith went to the presentation night in Brisbane thinking he was just collecting a monthly award for the feats of Art By Concorde winning the Battle Of The Bush final at Eagle Farm in June. The annual Wayne Wilson Medal was named after the late legendary race caller, and every year honours trainers from across Queensland who have recorded a special career milestone or improved their personal best result. The medal consists of trainers being evaluated on a monthly basis before a large number of judges from the racing industry and media rank the monthly winners each month to land on an eventual overall winner in a process similar to the AFL’s Brownlow Medal. Cameron Partington said the Wayne Wilson Medal is all about a trainer raising their own personal bar and doing something significant as a personal achievement. Craig fittingly shared the June Monthly award with trainer Les Ross, who was the inaugural Pat Duff Medal recipient two years ago. Rockhampton racing identity Tony McMahon received the Pat Duff Medal last year in recognition of his lifelong involvement in racing and his selfless work in assisting racing stakeholders.

Craig said “Pat is a great trainer and someone I have always looked up to. To receive an award in his name and be included on the winner’s list with blokes like Les and Tony is a huge honour, and one I will treasure greatly.”

Fresh from his successful trip to the annual Birdsville Carnival, Craig is now preparing his team for the Club Hotel Roma Cup day to be held at Bassett Park on Saturday November 18th.

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