What makes a great CEO of a race club?


Have any of you been to the horse races?

Have you had a good time?

What made you have good time?

Going to the races and having a great day is all about dressing up, glamming up

Ladies – the fascinator, the makeup, high heels, the flowing dress

Gents – suit tie, may be a hat

To have a flutter on the gi gi’s, to hear the thundering hooves galloping past you. The adrenalin. The Crowd roars. “Come on, get up” they shout. There can only be one winner.

The CEO of a race club is an exciting position in this thrilling and passionate sport of horse racing.

The CEO requires true leadership and has to be a strategic thinker.

They need to brings a wealth of knowledge to the role with experience working on a racecourse, venue and management roles.

They need to know how to put on and run a great event with good event management skills

They need to effectively manage relationships for that important Sponsorship $

Great communicator to deal with the members, committee, public and sponsors

A good CEO puts his own self interest last and focuses on the members and public to ensure great customer service

Focus on Infrastructure and good asset management. If CEO’s do not continue to invest in the facilities and have upgrades to cater for modern needs and compete for the entertainment dollar then they will be left behind.

Example – Moonee Valley in Victoria is great example where they have day racing, night racing and have a Tabrets on the corner block which operates as club with pokies.

Another example in Queensland is the Brisbane Racing Club where they purchased a bowls club with pokies and enhanced the club offering and upgraded the facility and has increased the membership and now appeals to families and a younger demographic.

Key attributes of great CEO’s of a race club

  • Personable and engaging
  • Understands the customer and his team
  • Has a great patience
  • Loves a challenge
  • Understand that tradition does not pay the bills and embraces digital technology to engage the racing and event fan
  • Uses social media to regularly promote the club and service offering outside of major race days
  • Promotes a place to be seen, to be dressed up and a place to find your future partner!
  • Offer easy access to get a ticket, buy a drink and buy food and place a bet
  • Drives corporate sponsorship through effective relationships and offers facilities where companies and sponsors want to entertain their clients
  • Partners with other major brands and sporting codes to cross promote with fans and customers (AFL, Rugby league, rugby union to name a few)
  • Drives financial performance with lazer focus on the numbers
  • Offers value for money
  • Not all about the racing and has many other areas of expertise to offer
  • The CEO focuses on “it is about the experience, the event, the fun and to have a bit of frivolity”
  • More than just the race days and the CEO needs to create other revenue streams 365 days a year
  • Show cases it stars (the jockeys, trainers and horses) and promotes them as celebrities
  • Uses celebrities with a brand presence to promote the club and entertainment offerings
  • CEO’s need to have focus safety and risk management for employees, members, public, contractors, 3rd party users as well as trainers, owners, and jockeys. They also have a duty of care for the welfare of the animals and jockeys.

Example of poor CEO’s
  • Sits in their ivory tower
  • Does not get with the times
  • Does not adapt to the changing demographic
  • Micro manages
  • Is not digital savvy
  • Focuses too much on the racing and not the whole package of putting on an event
  • Does not think outside of the square
  • Does not focus on his people
  • Does not listen to the customer
  • Is a “yes” person to the Board and committee
  • Is sexist and part of the “old boys” club

To sum it up a great CEO of a race club must have: 
  1. Integrity
  2. Promotes good governance
  3. Thinks strategically and owns the vision
  4. Manages relationships
  5. Oversees and drives performance
  6. Makes good decisions and acts decisively
  7. Listens to his people and customers

 I will leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future” 

If you enjoyed this artcile and would like to dicuss further or need assistance with your club contact Adam  on

0400 761 700 | info@carmalkconsulting.com.au 

Adam Carter | Carmalk Consulting


M: 0400 761 700

W: (07) 3869 2573

E: info@carmalkconsulting.com.au

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