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  • Provincial Racing NSW


Updated: Jun 14, 2023

GRANT LYNCH lost $400 on the first race he ever fielded on – and alarm bells rang!

Having taken out his bookmaker’s licence, he began displaying the odds at the Kembla Grange meeting which coincided with the champion New Zealand mare Sunline’s Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 28, 2000.

“It was the first of 10 races at The Valley, and the favorite (Develan, ridden by Brett Prebble) won.

“I’m normally a positive person, but had $15,000 in the bag and knew there were another 40 races to bet on that day,” Lynch said.

“I worked out that if I lost $400 on each race, I would be gone on my first day.”

Thankfully for the rookie bookmaker, he didn’t empty his bag that day and came out on the right side of the ledger.

More than two decades on, he is still in the business, fields at all Provincial meetings and has established himself as the leading bookmaker at Newcastle and Kembla Grange Saturday fixtures.

Rather ironically, Gosford-born Lynch earlier had no interest all in racing – and his parents were not racing-minded either.

As such, he would have laughed if someone had told him he would become a bookmaker.

But a set of circumstances changed his thinking.

“I was selling photo copiers, and was looking for a second job to earn some extra Arthur Ashe (cash),” he said.

“I was always ambitious, but knew that to get ahead in life, you had to work hard.

“Fortunately, I got a job on Saturdays working as a clerk for bookmaker Malcolm Waters at Randwick and then Wentworth Park greyhounds that night.”

Lynch did that for about seven years, and seeing first-hand the workings of a bookie must have whet his appetite to give it a try on his own.

“I got my licence and a dear friend of mine, Noel Yeomans, knew Keith “Shoulders” Nolan well at Kembla Grange, and got me into the ring there.

“Noel was a great mentor, and was also a wonderful rugby league scout, and brought “Blocker” Roach and Garry Jack to the Balmain Tigers.

As well as fielding at the Provincials, Lynch (pictured) also works at some midweek meetings in town and operates at all the major country carnivals; fabulous Grafton in July being just around the corner.

He prides himself on being one of the few wholly owned Australian bookmakers being based in a Sydney office.

“The ATC (Australian Turf Club) has been very good to me, and my office (LYNCHBET) is at Randwick, from where we take our phone and internet bets,” Lynch said.

“We’re predominantly a family operation, and cater for all punters, serious and social.”

Lynch admits the wagering landscape has changed dramatically in his two decades plus time putting up the odds.

“Whilst our online business was very brisk during the COVID periods, there’s no doubt there are fewer serious punters on track.

“Racedays are more social events nowadays. We still take plenty of bets, but the number of bigger punters on course has declined.”

Moving with the times and ensuring he doesn’t miss out on taking any bets on course, Lynch enables racegoers to bet with him using the Tap N Go system.

“A lot of people don’t carry cash any more, and use their cards or phones to have a bet,” Lynch said.

“But we pay back winning bets in cash.

“My business prides itself on being customer friendly.

“The present day racegoer doesn’t want a lecture like some cranky clerks gave punters in the old days, and need to leave the track having had a good racing experience.

“Win, lose or draw, we want them to come back again.”

Lynch recently set a punter for an even $20,000 about a Kembla Grange winner (it …… in, he said), and remembers a huge losing bet he took 14 years ago.

“I bet a punter $100,000 to $2500 each-way (odds of 40-1) about a horse called Leica Larrikin at Flemington in July, 2009,” he recalled.

“To be honest, I did back it back to cut such a huge loss, and some of my staff had a go at me for being ‘weak’.

“When the horse won, I said: “Who’s the idiot now?”

Leica Larrikin was ridden that day by Dean Holland, who tragically lost his life from a fall at

Donald in country Victoria on April 24.

It wasn’t a winning or losing bet, but one of Lynch’s real highlights was meeting the late great entertainer Barry Humphries AO CBE, who passed away two days before Holland was killed.

“I was fielding at a Kembla Grange meeting a few years back, and Barry had an interest in a runner that day with Gai Waterhouse,” Lynch explained.

“His wife had a few dollars each-way their horse with me, and I mentioned to her that I was an unabashed fan of Barry and would love to meet him.

“She said he would come and see me in five minutes, and sure enough he did.

“Barry was fantastic. We chatted for ages, and it was very special to meet him (pictured).”

Whilst there are fewer bookmakers operating now than 10 years ago, Lynch doesn’t intend on being one of those statistics.

“When you think I had no interest in racing at all, I do love what I’m doing,” he said.

“I’ve got no plans to give it away, and in fact we’re about to expand the business.”

Lynch is planning to open LIGHTNINGBET next week, but won’t be abandoning his racing clients.

“Obviously I want to keep our LYNCHBET punters who like betting on the horses, pacers and greyhounds and it is already online (, but LIGHTNINGBET ( will also cater for those who are sports-minded and fancy having a bet in that area as well as all the racing codes,” he said.

“We’ve been planning the introduction of LIGHTNINGBET for some time, and it’s exciting to know it is almost here.”

*Words John Curtis - June 7, 2023 - Pics supplied *

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