My wife and I recently lost a dear family friend to what must surely be the most dreadful disease that can ever affect a human being – leukaemia. The wrecked atrocities this disease inflicts on the human body don’t really bear going into in any great detail here. Suffice to say every time we walked out of the Wesley Hospital after visiting our friend our heads were bowed – and I can assure you that there was definitely no spring in the step. I used to say “if you think you are doing it tough in life just take a walk through the children’s cancer ward at a hospital and you’ll soon realize how lucky you are”. Since our friend’s sad passing, that saying now incorporates the additional wording of “or a leukaemia ward”. And on the Brisbaneracing website montage of photos today is a photo of the extraordinary cost of one leukaemia drug, which you truly have to see to believe.

The racing industry needs to stand as one now for one of its own, by helping out a little three-year-old Brisbane boy named Charles Geoffrey Pratt. “Charlie” as his parents call him, turns four-year-old next Tuesday, 22 January, but just one day before his fourth birthday there’s a big fundraising day in Brisbane for the little man. A whole heap of well meaning, hard working people headed by the Queensland Jockeys’ Association, in conjunction with the Brisbane Racing Club and high profile media and racing personalities are behind the fundraising day – and we need website readers help, for it’s hardly rocket science to work out if everyone helps out just a little bit, suddenly all those little bits become one big bit – and importantly people don’t need to live in Brisbane to assist financially.

Charlie Pratt is a member of one of Brisbane’s best known racing family. His father Bradley was an apprentice jockey for four years before weight got the better of him. Brad’s father was the late respected trainer Alby Pratt. Renowned as one of Brisbane’s top trainers Alby Pratt had success both with thoroughbreds and standardbreds. His best known thoroughbred was arguably the classy gelding Prunda for part of his career which won 30.5 races and was good enough to run second in the 1963 Stradbroke to Mullala, one year after he ran third in the Queensland Derby to Honest Man and Summer Prince. Horses of the calibre of Sydney Group 1 winner Panvale, mentioned only yesterday in the Justracing story on Beau Appo, along with 1968 Queensland Oaks winner Bright Shadow and Weetwood and Eye Liner Stakes winner James Tradition were top performers for little Charlie’s late grandfather Alby. Then of course Alby Pratt’s brother was the former esteemed racecaller and journalist Larry Pratt. These days Larry is retired and living on the Gold Coast. Back in 2006 I wrote Larry Pratt’s biography which featured in my published racing book of the same year. That biography gave an interesting insight into the Pratt family’s racing background and can be read HERE.

So it goes without saying that the Pratt name has been heavily involved in Brisbane racing for many decades. And that involvement continues to this day, as Charlie’s father Brad works behind the barriers at meetings conducted by the Brisbane Racing Club and so on.

Little Charlie’s mother Roslyn also has a long racing background. You see she’s a former successful South Australian jockey. Riding as Roslyn Dodd she rode hundreds of winners in the Port Augusta/Port Lincoln area between 1987 and 1995. “She was even more successful in her riding career than I was”, husband Brad says with an accompanying hearty laugh. Little Charlie is the only child born to the union of the couple, although Brad has a child to a former marriage. These days Roslyn is a registered trainer with Racing Queensland.

Speaking to Brad yesterday afternoon he was excited about the big day next Monday “as a lot of current and former jockeys will be there”, adding, “I’m hoping all of Greg Hall, Mick Pelling, Chris Munce and Mick Dittman will be there. I spoke to Chris (Munce) earlier this afternoon and he’s going to try to get here, but it’s dependant on his (throat cancer) treatment”.

When asked if she could give website visitors an insight into her son Charlie’s current medical status, Roslyn told Justracing, “There’s a lot of people worse off than us. The government now pay for any life threatening disease for children including cancers but the government funding stops at 18 (years of age) so the main reason for the fundraiser is to put the money raised into a trust fund so that if Charlie can get through his childhood and teenage years, well if leukaemia ever returns in his adult life, he’s got money for treatment. He’s finished eight months of what’s called intensive treatment and he’s now into a maintenance stage, which won’t finish until 2015. The maintenance stage involves taking a mild chemotherapy tablet each night. Then once every three months he has to go into hospital for chemotherapy and at that stage they also do a lumbar puncture and send fluid samples to America as they have to keep the blood at a certain level so they (the hospital) know the chemotherapy is working”.

The big day of fundraising next Monday consists of a golf day followed by a large raffle and auction. The golf day is a two ball Ambrose at Nudgee Golf Course on Monday 21 January 2013 starting at 9.30am with a shot gun start.

The cost of the round of golf is $100 each player and only a maximum of 100 players can play. The $100 includes the buggy. I understand the numbers are limited to 100 due to the number of available buggies at any one time.

There are a host of prize winners in the golf tournament. There are two prizes for winners, a prize for each of second or third, five “nearest the pin” prizes and two “longest drive” prizes. Some of the prizes are return air fares, golf and accommodation packages, golf bags, golf shirts, golf balls and more. Drinks can be purchased from the drink cart on course.

To play in the golf game these are the steps to take:

1. Deposit your money in the account below, putting in as the reference your name and the word “GOLF”.

2. Text the committee (see below) the date of your deposit and the amount so the committee can book the players in.

3. Email or text Glenn Francis on or phone Glenn on 0412 159 786 with your players names and who you will be partnered with (if you paid for more than two).


Relevant bank account details are:

BANK: Commonwealth Bank


BSB: 064 105

ACCOUNT NO: 10404090


Committee members of CCC Day and their mobile phone contact details are:


Glen Prentice 0414 585 922

Peter Dove 0418 876 509

Glenn Francis 0412 159 786

Mark Smith-Lester 0438 457 976


Importantly people don’t even have to attend either the golf day or the memorabilia auction to donate to the worthy cause as they can donate to the above Commonwealth bank account by simply putting their name and the word “DONATION”. Please note donations are not tax deductable as the relevant parties simply haven’t had time to go through the legal processes to have that happen prior to the planned fundraising day.


The large raffle and auction that will follow on from the big golf day will kick off at 5pm. The venue for that is the Gallopers Club, which is the old Hamilton Bowls Club, situated just near the railway crossing on Nudgee Road, between Eagle Farm and Doomben racecourses. Raffle prizes will include membership to the Brisbane Racing Club (BRC), BRC dining packages, a week’s accommodation at Caloundra, a signed Gai Waterhouse book, beauty salon prizes and more.


Auction items will include Black Caviar memorabilia from Royal Ascot signed by Peter Moody and Luke Nolen, Makybe Diva memorabilia signed by Glen Boss, Michael Schumacher (not Mel) memorabilia, So You Think signed memorabilia, a signed saddle by all the 2012 Melbourne Cup jockeys, Brett Prebble personal memorabilia and many more.


In conclusion let me suggest that the racing industry needs to unite on this issue to help a little man out. At nearly four years old he can hardly be deemed old enough to help himself. And the Justracing website will lead by example and wouldn’t ask the public to do something that we wouldn’t be involved in, so later today my wife and I will donate $200 to the fundraiser and a copy of the relevant receipt will go up in the photo montage tomorrow, as talk is cheap and in this game integrity is everything. Whilst $200 is hardly a King’s ransom, if every reader parted with even $10 – imagine the amount of money that could come in via the website. And you can bet “London to a brick on” that we’ll all lose $10 on some slow conveyance next Saturday. The TAB is hardly “a worthy cause” – but wee Charlie is. Justracing will also attend the memorabilia auction part of the day next Monday to help out if possible. Resident Rockhampton racecaller Russell Leonard is coming to Brisbane to host the late afternoon and evening part of the fundraising day. Then later this week it is hoped that a photo of a couple of the major auction items can be placed here. I’m working on the concept of Glen Prentice getting two memorabilia photos to me – then one can go up on this website Friday night and the other next Monday morning in normal website articles, as obviously some people from intrastate or interstate may want to bid by phone for some of the items and to that end the aforesaid committee persons above would be the people to talk to in that regard for any such genuine enquiries.


Justracing thanks all of Garry Legg, Peter Dove, Glen Prentice and both Brad and Roslyn Pratt for their time and input yesterday which made getting this story out into the public domain today possible.


Today on there’s the first of two big montages of photos from last weekend’s racing. On David Clarkson pens an interesting article on current events in the New South Wales racing industry, then on Matt Nicholls continues his countdown on his highlights on the 2012 racing year.

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