Calliope Jockey Club president Jim Neill-Ballantine is hopeful that wet weather will not derail the 100th edition of the Calliope Gold Cup scheduled for Boxing Day.
Calliope Jockey Club president Jim Neill-Ballantine is hopeful that wet weather will not derail the 100th edition of the Calliope Gold Cup scheduled for Boxing Day.

Passion for racing

GALLOPS aficionado Jim Neill-Ballantine has been entrenched in Harbour City horse racing for as long as he can remember.

The 67-year-old has been president of Calliope Jockey Club for the past 45 years and has no plans to end his tenure in the near future.

Neill-Ballantine developed a passion for racing from a young age and used to accompany his father, Hugh, to race meets regularly.

“I’ve been around racing my whole life,” he said.

“My father was a racing man, he bred a few race horses and he was a president of Gladstone turf club.

“I used to go in with him to the races quite a bit; years ago when the finishing post was around the other side at Gladstone turf club.”

The Calliope club has become a Neill-Ballantine family affair in recent times, son Leo is secretary and wife Chris is treasurer.

The dedicated clubman has enjoyed great success at the track as a horse owner as well and his stable has won numerous races.

“I haven’t got any horses racing right now but I probably will get a horse or two in the near future and I’ve had a few good race horses over the years,” he said.

“Back in the 1960s they even had a polocrosse race for registered polocrosse horses and a hack race — I had a creamy horse that won the polocrosse race.

“I’ve won quite a few races here over the years — it has always been a favourite home spot for me.”

Neill-Ballantine is currently preparing for the 100th edition of the Calliope Gold Cup on Boxing Day, but rain is threatening a wash out.



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