Former champion jockey Malcolm Johnston will help host Muswellbrook Race Club’s Hari Singh fundraiser on August 31 – and for Johnston, this is personal.
Johnston will join forces with racing personality Greg Radley for a night of entertainment, laughs and racing anecdotes in the Silks Function Centre at the Skellatar Park racecourse.
Tickets are priced at $150 per person through the club’s office with all proceeds going to the Hari Singh Trust Fund, which is administered by local law firm, Equilaw.
“I get invited to a lot of functions and I love going but this fundraiser for Hari is something special,” Johnston said.
“I did a lot of work with Hari, along with Shane Cullen, through the apprentices’ school and we became good friends.
“Harry [Hari] is a wonderful person and had the ability to become a top jockey.
“He was one of those people who just wanted to learn and it was a pleasure to be teaching him.
“Harry deserves all the support we can give him and his family.”
Singh was badly injured in a race fall at Tamworth in August last year and was placed in an induced coma in Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital because of serious head injuries.
He was eventually released but his road to recovery had been long and arduous and he will never ride again or even be able to drive a car because of damage to his right eye.
Singh had come to Muswellbrook from India to achieve his ambition to become a jockey, was indentured to Jeff Englebrecht and became on the district’s most popular riders.
He won two feature races while an apprentice, scoring on the Englebrecht-trained Newton’s Rings in the Bengalla Cup at Muswellbrook and in the Coonamble Cup.
After the fall racing authorities worked with immigration officials to get Hari’s wife and baby daughter to Australia to be with him.
The couple are now living in Newcastle, where Hari has to stay for ongoing treatment while their second child, a son, was born several weeks ago.
“What happened to Hari is a tragedy,” Englebrecht said.
“He was only four months out of his apprenticeship and he had a bright future.
“His progress as an apprentice was nothing short of amazing, he was liked by everyone and he had a great sense of humour.
“Hari loved Muswellbrook and he wanted to settle here.
“He had an appointment for the day after the accident to arrange a loan to buy a house.
“All those plans and hopes are now gone.”