King of the track-side yarn
HERE'S a toast to Tony White - a dark ale of course.
The world-ranked surfer from Maroubra who became the king of the trackside 'yarn' passed away on May 7, aged 64.
Tony was no stranger to On Track readers, with his colourful writing style a dominant feature of its pages each year.
His presence was especially felt during July Carnival; his signature retro moustache announcing his arrival well before his outstretched hand.
Even as his health started to fail him, there was no keeping Tony away from his craft, especially at July.
Bedridden with a heart condition on Ramornie Day in 2016, he fronted up to the track the next day, no doubt against the best medical advice, to write his final Grafton Cup masterpiece - Rednav's 'Fairytale Cup win'.
Two months later a stroke would spell the end of his writing days and he battled health issues ever since, requiring daily specialist attention.
A top bloke to have around who made a huge contribution to the racing media industry, his presence is dearly missed.
Editor, The Daily Examiner
Colleagues and friends pay tribute to racing writer
"Being closely associated with Tony White through the CRJC, he was always a thorough gentleman, helpful, friendly and most professional. Although he came from a surfing youth background, he was a natural "racing journo", as this was his love later in life. He enjoyed his racing and was very well respected for his accuracy in his stories. He loved a bet and was quite happy to give his followers a tip or two." Graeme Green, chairman, Clarence River Jockey Club
"Tony was a great racing journalist for decades - there is no doubt he had the nose for a good story.
"Tony could be critical of officials or jockeys if he felt the circumstances required, however he did it in such a way as to not put any permanent pressure on the relationships he had built up over many years.
"More recently Tony was a great ambassador, not only for the July Racing Carnival but for the Clarence Valley in general.
"In Australia we have a tendency to improve people's character when they pass on. In Tony's case, this will not be needed. He was simply a good bloke and will be sadly missed."
Michael Beattie, executive officer, CRJC
"Tony worked in a golden age of racing journalism, alongside such luminaries as Keith Robbins and Tom Brassel, and more than held his own in breaking big racing news stories. He will always be remembered for his laconic wit, laid-back style and, of course, his robust moustache. The profession of racing journalism is poorer for his passing.''
Daily Telegraph head of racing Tony Thomas
"Tony was a dedicated journalist who was extremely popular, not only with his peers, but with all participants in the NSW racing industry. He devoted much of his life to writing on thoroughbred racing and, after covering racing in Sydney, moved to Grafton where his passionate coverage of country racing earned him our (Racing NSW) Country and Provincial Media Award (2005)."
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys
"Tony White was one of racing's authentic 'good blokes'. He was always helpful and, when he moved to Grafton, he was a great supporter of not only Grafton but also all the northern region as well as country racing throughout the state. He is genuinely missed."
Bob Pavitt, chairman of NSW Country Racing
"A good bloke who always helped other journos out with extra information or tips.
"He was an accurate and committed journalist intent on writing the right story."
Geoff Newling, race writer
"Tony and I shared the same surname, but weren't related yet we called each other dad and son. We became close when he was working for The Daily Telegraph and covering Wagga Cup carnivals and I was doing the same with Wagga Daily Advertiser.
"Tony did a This Is Your Life presentation for my 40th birthday, travelling all the way from Grafton to Wagga - some 12 hours. We talked at least twice a week and would catch up at holidays for a beer and a bet. It's easy to say nice things about someone when they have passed, but in Tony's case it's so true because he was just a good guy.
"He wasn't my dad by blood, but that didn't matter. We were pretty close and I'm going to miss all our talks and social get-togethers. But we have the memories and they will never leave my memory." Graeme White, racing writer and Wagga Harness Racing Club chief executive
"Tony would be on the phone to the source and, once he realised he was onto something big, he'd stand up and talk to the person with such excitement, you would swear he was speaking to Santa Claus for the first time."
Mark Brassel, editor Racing NSW magazine
"Having known and worked with Tony for more than 40 years, I came to regard him as a true friend, a staunch work colleague and a true professional dedicated to his craft."
Chris Scholtz, racing editor, Racing and Sports