Written by Ted Geracitano- Founding Member
The Association was formed in 1993 and known as the Darwin and Districts Racehorse Owners and Trainers Association with Bill Somerville as the first President.
Bob Kendray offered to sponsor the cup to be known as the Lodge of Dundee Owners Association Cup of $7000.00 over 1300 meters and it was left up to me to find the remaining sponsors. I then approached Peter Bridge (Diamond Beach Hotel Casino), Grey Meyer (Greg Meyer Paving), John Auchter (Parap Pub), Jim Kerr (Crystal Clean car Wash) and Marion Onn (NT TAB) and all agreed to be our sponsors of our 1st DROTA Race Day which was held on Saturday May 21 1994 six races in total, prize money was $25,500.00. Maria asked if her race could be named NT TAB/ Mick Stumbles Handicap to honour Micks 23 years of race calling at Fannie Bay. The 1st raffle was for a tried racehorse – Slippery Cowboy.
In 1995 John Forrest was President and the race day was moved to Saturday June 17. John Auchter moved from Parap Pub and they dropped the sponsorship so I approached Saltie and he took take up the vacant sponsorship for Darwin horse Floats. Again it was a six Race program and prize money increased to $29,500.00
Once again the NT TAB wished to call their race the NT TAB reunion of Ex- servicewomen handicap as we share the race day with WW 11 Ex- Service women. And on a personal note I had the great privelage to meet World war 11 heroine and living legend Nancy Wake- known as the “white mouse”. The raffle was tried for horse Sail Ahead.
In 1996 the Race day grew to such an extent that we had 8 races run on Saturday June 29 and was dubbed the unofficial start to the Darwin Cup Carnival. Nominations for the Cup were so lare that 2 divisions of the race were run with equal prize money but only one was given the cup status. Sponsorship was getting easier because of the success of our race day so much so that Terry Dowling wanted his pubs sponsorship back for Parap Village Tavern, Mario Candidas Family approached me to sponsor a race and NT Territory Mutual manager Lloyd Stevens wanted a race giving us more sponsors than races. With much reluctance I approached Saltie with the problem and his race was taken off the program for that year. The 8 races with total prize money of $46,000 were the NT TAB Class D, Parap Village Tavern- Montego’s Maiden, Mario Candida Memorial Class memorial Class 3, Crystal Clean Carwash Class 3, Grey Meyer Paving Class 6, territory Mutual Class 5, MGM Grand Darwin Plate (Open Division 1) and Lodge of Dundee Owners and Trainers Cup (Division 2).
In 1992 Judy Gibson was president and on the sponsorship front all sponsors were happy but Peter Bridge left MGM Grand and the new management wanted to go full on with the Darwin Turf Club. My old mate Saltie had no hesitation in taking up his sponsorship again. Terry Dowling requested his race be called the “Bertie Meredith Memorial”. The race program was held on Saturday June 28 with prize money of $46,000.00
In 1998 Shane Clarke was president all sponsors were of 1997. Again we had 8 races with prize money of $48,00.00 and held on Saturday 28 June.
In 1999 two major changes took place. The Association became the Racehorse Owners Association (ROANT) and the NT TAB took over the major sponsorship from Lodge of Dundee. The NT Tab was part of Unitab and when I approached Tony Flanagan he jumped at taking the cup. Tony was happy to come in at higher dollar sponsorship so we could increase the prize money for the cup in the future. The NT TAB Owners Association Cup was still worth $8000.00 in 1999 but increased to $12000.00 in 2000.
With Lodge of Dundee no longer sponsoring Shane Clarke introduced me to Rex Edmonds and Rex was happy to come on board with Roofclad Constructions. Jim Kerr changed his sponsorship from crystal Clean car Wash to U-Cart. The 1999 Race day was held on Saturday with prize money $56,000.00.
2001 was my last year as the official raceday Coordinator Shane Clarke was still president and all our loyal sponsors were in the same as in previous years. The 8 Race NT TAB ROANT Cup Day was held on Saturday June 30 and prize money jumping once again to a healthy $62,000.00. The sponsors on that day were TIO, Roofclad, Darwin Horse Transport, Parap Village Tavern/ Montegos, Greg Meyer Paving, U-Cart and the major sponsors NTTAB.
I applaud the establishment of an office and part time secretary and urge that we accurately document our history safe and updated in our new headquarters.
Yours in racing
Ted Geracitano- Founding Member