VITAL COG: John Mcintosh will be busy ensuring all runners enter and exit the chutes safely at Corbould Park on Melbourne Cup day.
VITAL COG: John Mcintosh will be busy ensuring all runners enter and exit the chutes safely at Corbould Park on Melbourne Cup day. Warren Lynam

Life behind the scenes at Corbould Park

WHILE all eyes will be on the racing at Corbould Park today, John McIntosh will be one of the many faces behind the scenes ensuring it all goes off without a hitch.

For more than 40 years McIntosh has been hands-on in the racing industry and he'll again be in action for the Sunshine Coast Turf Club's Melbourne Cup meet at Caloundra.

As punters flock to make wagers and connections cross fingers, McIntosh is in full flight plying his trade on the far side of the track as a barrier's assistant organising gallopers into their allotted chutes.

"It's just making it safe before the starter gives the green light to go,” McIntosh said.

"I let the boys know what horses to put in what barrier and if there's any bad horses or any horses that do something wrong in the barriers I've got to put men on them and make sure it's safe for everyone.

"I drive the tractor and shift the barriers to the starting positions and line them up too. There's a team of three of us that do that.”

When not busy on race days, McIntosh is busy supervising training at the sand track and in the pool.

He also supervises the main work track during the week as well.

"You're there to make sure everyone is doing the right thing and doing it safely while the horses are getting trained,” he said.

McIntosh has been working at Corbould Park for the past three years, but his history in the industry is a long and fruitful one.

He worked as a steward and assistant starter at the Townsville Turf Club for about 20 years prior, and travelled as far as Cloncurry, Cairns and Mackay in the role.

Even before that he was well enveloped in the sport.

"When I was about 15 I lost my mother and I just wanted to get another interest besides school and football and I started driving trotters and went on from there and I just love horses and just wanted to be around horses all the time,” he said.

"I then went on to the gallops when the trots closed down in Townsvile and we trained a few gallopers before I went over the other side of the fence to be in a steward role.”

He's relished his time at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club and was looking forward to another big day at the track for the Melbourne Cup meet.

"The Sunshine Coast has an amazing track and even with the racing it cops and the amount of pressure put on it, it just keeps bouncing back and surviving,” he said.

"Coming here is the best thing I've ever done. I think I got here at the right time and I think its (club) got a huge future.”



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