What do you get when you cross the tight knit community of the turf industry, those who love racing and the NSW State of Origin? Nothing short of a WINNING day – the Matt Callander Charity Race Day that was held at Royal Randwick on Saturday, 23 June 2018.
Matt Callander, head of rugby league at Channel 9 passed away at 46 years of age, last October after a long fight against brain cancer but not before setting up the Matt Callandar Fund (MCF). This was set up to raise money for supporting the advancement of medical research. Matt also aligned himself with the Mark Hughes Foundation.
So who better to head this day then Matt’s racing identity father, Kenny Callander.This was a family affair like no other. The Callanders know how to do charity more than any one we know – passionate brother Richard Callander and his children Jess and Brooke assisting on the day and always standing beside him, his solid wife Kaye, Matt’s wife Anne and daughter Maddy, Helen (Matt’s mum), his brother David and his wife Cassie were all in attendance.Behind the scenes to make this day such a success was Richard Callander, Graeme Colless and wife Megan together with Jess May who all worked tirelessly.
There were plenty of “stars” donating their time including David Carr who entertained the room and Ray Hadley who did a sensational job as auctioneer.What an electric feel Royal Randwick had in the ballroom. The room was a “sellout” with over 570 guests and all funds raised to go in support of the Mark Hughes Foundation and the Living Cancer Trust.The ballroom was filled with amazing auction prizes including the framed saddled used and kindly donated by Hugh Bowman on which he won his third Cox Plate on riding the great mare Winx. Final bid went to Winx’s part-owner Debbie Kepitis for $50,000. The ATC and Racing NSW were big supporters of this event. By the end of the day, an astonishing pool of $400,000 was raised.
What a turn up of racing and football identities – This day was certainly in Matt’s honour.