BORDER and Riverina thoroughbred racing circles lost one of their most colourful identities on Sunday with the death of Gordon McLaurin.
McLaurin was a regular at Saturday meetings at the Albury Racing Club and the Murrumbidgee Turf Club and also the Victorian Racing Club.
But he always gave racing away during winter, his daughter Mandy Gunn said.
“He said there was never any good racing over winter,” she said.
“There were three main things in dad’s life: work, racing and the church.
“But if you told most people that they would think you were talking about three different people.
“From what I can work out he was a successful punter; people were always seeking him out for his advice.”
Melbourne in spring was a special time for McLaurin, who died at the age of 89.
“He attended 66 consecutive Melbourne Cups, including last year,” Gunn said.
“He met my mother Sue at the Melbourne races and they were married for 24 years before she passed away in 1994.
“Perhaps his greatest thrill in racing was when he was inducted into the Victorian Racing Club as a life member a couple of years ago.
“They had a reserved seat for him at the top of the grandstand, looking over the mounting yard, and he was delighted he saw Black Caviar race.”
McLaurin was the fourth generation of his family to farm “Dalriada” near Holbrook.
“He retired into Holbrook 10 years ago but he used to still come out to the farm to help my husband Linden and myself every day until his health deteriorated in recent times,” Gunn said.
“My sister Eve died in June and I think that shook him up.
“Dad was a very fair, generous man who treated everybody equally, no matter who they were.”
Albury Racing Club president David Wallace was a good mate of McLaurin for more than 65 years and visited him a couple of days before his death.
“He was a very colourful, delightful man and an old-fashioned racing person, the sort of person who are very scarce around racing tracks today, unfortunately,” Wallace said.
“He was a good punter and I don’t think he ever lost to a bookmaker over a period of time.
“Gordon was a very good farmer.
“Local racing and the community is much poorer for his passing.”
McLaurin is survived by daughters Clara and Mandy, grandchildren Archie, William and Alexander and second wife Jenny.
His funeral will be held at St Paul’s Anglican Church Holbrook on Monday, September 1, at 1pm.