Behind the colour and thundering hooves of bush race days, Shane Cullen and his team of stewards methodically ensure the strict rules of racing are upheld.

Story By Mandy McKeesick

Dressed smartly in suit pants and ties, Shane Cullen and his team of stewards make a low-key entrance to the track. Their attire blends in, yet they stand apart from the gathering crowd.
Shane is chief steward for the Hunter and North West district of Racing NSW; an area stretching from Mungindi in the north to Cessnock in the south and from the highlands of Glen Innes to the plains of Moree. He covers all race meetings from the picnics at dirt tracks such as Mallawa to the professional TAB metropolitan days at Scone, where the prize money can exceed millions.
“I didn’t like school, but I wasn’t big enough to be a bricklayer and wasn’t smart enough to be a doctor, so at age 14 I became an apprentice jockey, firstly to Pat Farrell at Muswellbrook and then to Gordon York at Wyong,” Shane says. “To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it. I would have if I had been a natural lightweight but I found the wasting pretty hard. Anyway, that was all 40 kilograms ago.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #93

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2014