Colin using his ClearView and Compact 7 HD

 

In this issue we profile Colin Tidy, bookmaker, horse owner and genuine racing legend.

 

Over the last few years Colin has lost a great deal of his usable vision due to macular degeneration.

 

In a recent biography of Colin, the author and racing journalist Ken Callander described him as one of the best known, and the last, of the old style bookmakers. As a young boy Colin lived in Sydney’s Kensington, right amongst the horses and trainers, and only a few streets away from Randwick Racecourse. He started up a lawn mowing business but horse racing was in his blood, so he would finish early on race days in order to get to the track and place a bet. Eventually in 1978 he followed his passion and decided to apply to become a bookmaker. Such was his reputation at the time, the referees on his application were the Minister for Sport, the Chairman of the TAB and the Chairman of the Tattersalls Club!

 

Colin and his wife of 45 years, Helen, have also owned a string of horses and enjoyed plenty of success, in particular with the champion Zedative, winner of five Group 1 races. Colin was also a successful businessman and founded the corporation BetChoice Pty. Ltd. which he sold last year.

 

Colin had already lost a significant amount of vision in his right eye through macular degeneration, when a burst blood vessel robbed most of the sight from his left eye. Although he was at an age when most people would have already retired, his loss of sight was the deciding factor in hanging up his bookmakers bag.

 

At a talk given by the Macular Disease Foundation in Bondi, Colin was able to meet Jeff Landers, one of our Low Vision Consultants, and inspect the range of options that are available to help people in his position. He has since trialled some options at home and has purchased a ClearView+ HD and a Compact 7 HD. The ClearView+ enables him to read the form guide at home, and the Compact 7 HD he can take with him wherever he goes.

 

Now that his track days are behind him Colin is keen that no one feels sorry for him. “I have had a terrific trot and I will still be having a bet every Saturday” he said. “The only thing I am dirty on is I won’t be able to watch Souths win the grand final this year!”*

*The Daily Telegraph, Feb 25 2011.

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