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AS the Scone Cup carnival logo says, it’s twice the fun!

Newcastle-born Jason Hill is excitedly looking forward to hosting his first Scone Cup carnival this weekend.

It’s a different “ball game” for sure managing NSW country racing’s huge two-day event as a major part of the annual Scone Horse Festival, but he has bucket loads of experience in the sporting field.

The son of former NSW Sheffield Shield cricketer and past Newcastle Knights chairman Michael Hill, it is hardly surprising he is following in his father’s footsteps administration wise.

“I was always mad keen to get into sport,” Hill told us as he was putting the finishing touches to the Friday and Saturday meetings, which drew a staggering 612 entries chasing the rich prizemoney on offer.

“After finishing University, I was fortunate to get a job at entry level with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

“After 18 months there, I moved across to the St George Dragons and spent three years with another iconic Sydney rugby league club.”

Hill then switched codes to rugby union, joining the NSW Waratahs for two years.

At the turn of the century in 2000, an opportunity arose to make another sporting switch.

He became General Manager of Commercial with the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust.

The Trust was responsible for operating several sporting facilities, including the famous Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium.

“I really enjoyed my time with the Trust, and was there for 19 years,” Hill said.

“But as COVID started to bite, it was time to move back closer to home at Newcastle, and I ran my own consultancy business for four or five years.”

Hill had never really considered running a thoroughbred race club, and says the job at Scone came totally out of left field.

“A mate of mine sent me a copy of the advertisement when the club was looking for a CEO to replace Steve Keene, who had taken the CEO role with Illawarra Turf Club at Kembla Grange,” he explained.

“I looked at it, and thought that sounds pretty good.

“With all the infrastructure going on at Scone, I was thrilled to be given the position.”

Hill began duties in early September and found the move very comfortable, giving him plenty of time to learn the ropes running a race club which each May hosts one of Australian country racing’s major carnivals.

“These two days are particularly important to the club, not only to our club but also the Scone region,” he said.

“As well as attracting top jockeys and trainers, the carnival also draws racegoers from throughout NSW and interstate.

“So much lead-up work goes into staging the two days, and whilst we have a relatively new team here, I’m sure we have found the right balance.

“We’re also fortunate to be able to call on outside help to ensure we look after our racegoers in the best possible manner.

“It’s all happening at the equine capital of Australia.

“The racing of course is always top class, but it’s also so important that our patrons leave here having really enjoyed their time with us.

“Provided the weather is kind to us, I’m confident we will achieve that.”

Story John Curtis, May 15, 2024 - Pics supplied



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