Racing industry remembers one of its colourful characters
FORMER Daily Examiner sports reporter and veteran racing writer Tony White has died after battling the effects of a stroke for nearly two years.
He had only recently moved from Yamba to the NSW Central Coast, where he spent his final days in a nursing home.
White, who was a world-ranking surfer in his younger days, began his career as a journalist with AAP in the early 1970s.
By the time he began working at the DEX in the early 2000s, he had a 30-year career with AAP and The Daily Telegraph as one of the leading racing writers in the country.
"It was a real coup for the paper to get someone of his stature," said the Examiner's sports editor at the time, Adam Carroll.
"He was certainly well regarded within the racing community and brought a real gravitas to our coverage of the July Racing Carnival."
Carroll said White quickly established a strong rapport with the Clarence Valley sporting community and was able to turn his hand to covering the wide range of sports the newspaper covered.
After parting ways with the paper in 2006 White continued to supply racing stories about local horses and trainers until just before his stroke in 2016.
Long-time friend and colleague, racing journalist Chris Scholtz, said his memories go back to his surfing days at Maroubra in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
"He was actually a world- ranked surfer when I first met him and he could have gone onto bigger things if he had the dedication," Scholtz said.
"But in those times there was not the incentives in it to make you travel the world chasing events."
Scholtz said White's father, AAP racing writer Hal White had engendered a love of the sport in his son.
"Tony always loved racing and his dad was able to give him a start at AAP," he said.
Scholtz and White worked together the The Daily Telegraph and its stablemate The Sunday Telegraph through most of the 1980s.
"We worked together until I left in the late 80s," Scholtz said. "He stayed on until the mid-90s I think, then he left Sydney and came to the country."
He said White quickly made a name for himself in country racing, championing country horses, trainers and owners in his weekly country racing column in the Sun Herald.
Scholtz said he and another doyen of country racing Grahame Timbrell joined White as the judging panel for the Country Racing Awards, when they began in the early 1990s.
Clarence River Jockey Club executive officer Michael Beattie said local racing had lost a valuable friend.
"Tony had been coming to Grafton for as long as I could remember and would do anything he could to make the carnival a success," Beattie said. "He would ring you at any time to say if he know someone was coming or if he had some important knowledge."
The family has not released funeral details.