THERE was hardly a dry eye in the place.
OK, so that’s actually a lie, but what the heck, the print edition of National Trotguide and the Harness Racing Weekly has officially gone . . . so to heck with the truth.
Yet a few old editors, a couple of the publishers, several Club Menangle committeemen and partners, some friends and staff of the 73-year-old publication gathered to say farewell to the print edition last weekend at the Mercantile Hotel at The Rocks in Sydney.
It’s no coincidence that watering hole was also the ‘playground’ of the longest-serving member of the staff, Liam Farrell, who has done just about every different job at the newspapers in the 28 years, seven months and one day since the publication was bought by the NSW Harness Racing Club.
Seniority belonged to 88-year-old Harry Pearce, the former Daily Mirror harness racing editor who came on board as editor shortly after the club’s then chief executive Peter V’Landys orchestrated the purchase of National Trotguide.
V’Landys, now the supremo at Racing NSW, talked the club into buying the publication simply so that he could keep the ‘bible’ of our sport going, despite a falling circulation.
While the publication has battled on manfully in recent years, despite the trend that newsprint was dying, eventually the decision had to be made to rely solely on an on-line publication.
There was stull cause to celebrate as some of the old and new staff gathered to tell some tall tales and true ones about the battles the publication has faced over the years and some of the stories that it has broken along the way.
And as ‘H’ for Harry Pearce pointed out, the halcyon days saw harness racing on the back page of the daily newspapers whenever the Miracle Mile or the Inter Dominion rolled around each year.
“A lot has changed now and we battle to get a few paragraphs anywhere in the daily papers,” Harry said.
“We’ve had a lot of fun times and seen some mighty horses, trainers and drivers along the way.
“Harness racing has certainly had its share of champions . . . and many would agree that National Trotguide was one of them.
“A champion for the cause.”
And the memories will live on . . . turn to www.trotguide.com.au each week and see for yourself.