Big 2021 Ipswich Cup top priority for new Turf Club GM
ANYONE else at any other organisation might think it a tough time to be taking over the reins of a major sporting and hospitality organisation.
While talk of COVID-19 is still very much in the air, the man set to take on the role of general manager at Ipswich Turf Club could not be any more positive on his future prospects.
Ipswich Turf Club president Wayne Patch this week announced Tim Dunn would take over the GM role from the retiring Brett Kitching – a 16-year stalwart in the role who made a name for himself by boosting the profile of the city’s signature annual race day.
They may be some big shoes to fill, but Mr Dunn said the platform had been laid out for a dream run.
“I am very excited about the role,” he said.
“I have been involved in racing since my youth, when I used to go with my grandfather to Tamworth Turf Club.”
While his grandfather had a vision for young Tim to join the local turf club, life took him in a different direction.
He ended up studying business at UQ Gatton and spent considerable time in Ipswich, playing sport and also attending a few Ipswich Cups.
In 2017 Mr Dunn took up the role of commercial manager for Racing Queensland, which would lead him to build up a relationship with his predecessor, Brett Kitching.
“I had some long chats with Brett how the Ipswich Turf Club works. It was probably the one of best relationships I had with anyone in the industry in Queensland,” he said.
With Mr Kitching recently announcing his plans to retire early next year, a national search started to find a replacement.
Mr Patch said the new recruit had the right understanding of the industry to continue Ipswich’s current growth in racing.
The vacancy attracted a large applicant pool from around the globe with a number of high quality candidates vying for the position.
“It was most pleasing to see the calibre and diversity of the applicants which is a clear
indication of just how well the Club is perceived across Australia,” Mr Patch said.
“Following a robust selection process the ITC Board decided that Tim was best suited to
progress the Club’s strategic objectives which has a heightened commercial focus over the
next five years.
“Tim has an impressive commercial background in the private sector and more recently in
his role as commercial manager with Racing Queensland.
“He also has a good knowledge of racing and a keen interest in sport generally.
“We believe that he will be a great asset for the Club and the broader Ipswich community
which is always one of our highest priorities.”
Mr Dunn officially joins the club in mid December, giving him a 10-week transition period with Mr Kitching.
Priority number one will be ensuring the 2021 Ipswich Cup proceeds in its familiar mid-June timeslot, with what could be a record crowd.
“That is the questions everyone has been asking me,” Mr Dunn said of the Ipswich Cup.
“The answer is yes, absolutely it is going ahead in June. This is the biggest project in the handover and we are focused on how to make it successful.”
Mr Dunn said the Bundamba Racecourse’s infield area could be used to cater for more race fans in order to adhere to any COVID-19 precautions that may be in effect at the time.
“I don’t see why we cannot cater for a record crowd, or at least one that is as big as we’ve ever had,” he said.