Bert Wolfe Award

 DAMIEN Ractliffe, Age chief racing writer, is the 2020-21 Bert Wolfe Award winner.

Damien was both a news breaker and feature writer during 2021 for The Age, with his article on how Melbourne Racing Club would be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in a new state government tax should they proceed with the planned re-zoning of Sandown racecourse.

THE late Ray Huxley was the 2019-2020 Bert Wolfe Award winner.

Sadly Ray passed away after a short battle with cancer some weeks after he was named the winner for his 60 continuous years working in the racing industry.

Hucca worked as a racing writer at the Sun, Age and was chief racing writer at The Herald.

CONGRATULATIONS to Melbourne’s chief racecaller Matthew Hill on being named 2018-19 Bert Wolfe Award winner for overall contribution to racing.

Hill has quickly made his name as the successor to Greg Miles and his spring carnival calls were superb with his Melbourne Cup call of ‘Vow And Declare wins for Australia” especially memorable. He also co hosts’s At The Last.

Matthew, who received a trophy and a $3000 cheque from the VRC,  is also a VRMA committeeman. Last year’s winner was Herald-Sun racing editor Leo  Schlink.

Other recent winners were Jack Styring OAM, legendary broadcaster and journalist, in 2016-17 winner and .

Tony Kneebone, Winning Post editor, won the award for 2015-16 .

Judges,  retired journalists Rhett Kirkwood and Ray Huxley who succeed Judge John Nixon and former VRC secretary Rod Johnson, said Schlink’s series of articles was unmatched in recent times when it came to a racing scandal.

The Bert Wolfe Award is named in honour of the legendary Racing Editor of The Herald for 22 years from 1933-1955.

Inducted into racing’s Hall Of Fame in 2005, Wolfe  wrote under the nom de plume ‘Cardigan’ named after the 1903 Melbourne Cup winner Lord Cardigan which was bred by his grandfather.

Wolfe worked as racing editor of The Referee and was sports editor of  the Argus, before becoming chairman of stewards of the Queensland Turf Club.

In 1933 Sir Keith Murdoch recruited Wolfe as racing editor of The Herald.

Among his most famous stories he was in Mexico to witness the death of  the immortal Phar Lap in 1932 and in 1934 exposed the infamous Erbie/Redlock ring-in.

Racing historians believe Erbie claimed at least a dozen wins under false names.

Erbie has won several races in Sydney which Wolfe had seen and after seeing a photograph of a horse named Redlock who had landed a betting plunge to win at Murray Bridge in South Australia he became suspicious.

Wolfe then made the trip to South Australia to see Redlock win by 12 lengths at Kadina. He asked to examine the horse and found dye was used to conceal Erbie’s distinctive white blaze, confirming his suspicions.


Recent Award Winners

2021- Damien Ractliffe

2020-  Ray Huxley

2019- Matthew Hill

2018- Leo Schlink

2017- Jack Styring

2016 – Tony Kneebone

2015 – Greg Miles



2014Deane Lester
2013Patrick Bartley
2012Adrian Dunn
2011Rod Nicholson
2010Tim Habel
2009Bruce Clark
2008Adrian Dunn
2007Patrick Bartley
2006Brendan Cormick
2005Adrian Dunn
2004Andrew Garvey
2003Andrew Bensley
2002Andrew Eddy
2001Bryan Martin
2000Shane Templeton
1999Rod Nicholson
1998Brian Meldrum
1997John Russell
1996Les Carlyon
1995Greg Miles
1994Bryan Martin
1993Ron Taylor
1992Roy Aspinall
1991Stephen Moran
1990Stephen Moran
1989Cathy Walker
1988Bernie OÕBrien
1987Glenn Lester
1986Mark Harding
1985Tony Bourke
1984Mark Harding
1983Bill Collins
1982Jack Elliott
1981Roy Aspinall
1980Glenn Lester
1979Shane Templeton
1978Rollo Roylance
1977Tony Bourke
1976Ross du Bourg
1975Jack Elliott
1974Jack Elliott
1973Tony Meany
1972Rollo Roylance
1971Brian Meldrum
1970Keith McClure