Racing honour given to Merv
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
WHEN Merv Mercer attends the twilight meeting at the Coffs Harbour Racing Club on Friday, it's a sure bet that he'll get a thrill when he walks into the club's auditorium.
During the week, the club made the decision to name the vast expanses of the auditorium after Mercer in honour of the 41 years of hard work that he has given to the club.
Acting in a variety of positions on the club's committee over the years, Mercer has always been on hand to help out in any way to see the club continually improve.
The enormous amount of respect that this work has earned Mercer among the racing fraternity is now being shown with the naming of the 'Merv Mercer Auditorium'.
"It's a great honour as I've never had anything named after me before," he modestly said.
The stables at the track are named after Mercer's favourite horse that he owned, Just A Steal, which was trained by the great TJ Smith.
But this honour is just desserts for the enormous service that he's given.
Mercer has always had in interest in the sport of kings but it was almost by chance that his involvement at the Coffs Harbour track began.
"Ted Russell started it all off, I went down there and did a bit of tiling in the toilets that he put there for the club," Mercer explained.
"He bought a couple of horses and I leased them off him and they won a fair few races and that was a bit of fun and that's where it all started from. I've been with the club ever since."
Despite being chuffed to the bone with the honour that the club has bestowed upon him, Mercer still believes that the hard work he and the current committee are putting in can see the club become bigger and better.
Something that the club stalwart has thought it always could be.
"I thought it would be better with all the retired people here but most of them can't afford to go racing," he said.
"If they have their bet on the tote, that's about all they can probably afford."
Perhaps the first step to the bigger crowds will be made at this Friday afternoon's race meeting as punters enjoy the facilities within the newly named auditorium.
For all the tireless effort that he's given to the club, seeing his vision become a reality is something that Merv Mercer deserves.