Elmore’s Neville Welsh has joined some of the greats in harness racing by winning the Gordan Rothacker Medal.
The most prestigious individual award in harness racing, the Rothacker Medal has been won by the likes of Ted Demmler, Peter Manning and Ron Pocock.
Having driven winners in every decade since the 1950s including a win in Cobram as recently as last week, Welsh’s record of achievement is as enduring as it is successful.
In awarding the medal to Welsh, Harness Racing Victoria Chairman Latta paid tribute to the reinsman’s character and longevity.
“Neville is a humble man who doesn’t seek the spotlight, but his record demands recognition,’’ Latta said.
“There aren’t too many people in any sport who can claim to have been winners in the 1950s and continue to win today. It really is a magnificent achievement that defies age.”
In accepting the award, a surprised Welsh saluted the man whom it honours as a mentor and idol.
“I watched Gordon (Rothacker) right from when I was very young and I ended up having a good association with him even though I never won a race for him from memory,’’ Welsh said.
“One thing I know is that everything that everybody says about the man is right. He was a gentleman on and off the track and I am extremely humbled to receive this award tonight.”
Welsh began his career driving trackwork at a very young and secured his first win, Sea Witch at Horsham, aged just 16.
His career highlights include the 1971 A.G. Hunter Cup aboard Son of Nancy and the 1974 National Drivers Invitation at the Melbourne showgrounds on Truant Armagh.
However, most notable were his record-breaking premierships in 1970-71 and 1971-72 where he drove 81 and 84 winners for the season respectively.