David Russell has a stack of great Toowoomba Weetwood Handicap memories.

Alongside the city’s iconic Carnival of Flowers and Royal Show, Clifford Park’s annual Weetwood race day sits firmly as Toowoomba’s premier sporting event.

David learned in his early connection with Clifford Park, as a youthful racegoer, the meaning and value of the historic Weetwood Handicap.

Now, in his position as one of Toowoomba’s leading business identities, David knew he wanted to take his Weetwood involvement to another level of support.

Almost a decade later, his decision to become naming rights sponsor for the famous Toowoomba sprint  is still paying dividends, on and off the track.

The eighth running of the Audi Centre Toowoomba Weetwood Handicap highlights racing at Clifford Park on September 24 when Toowoomba Turf Club hosts its’ gala spring race day.

The $150,000 Listed Weetwood heads the club’s eight-event Metropolitan meeting, also featuring the $125,000 TAB Toowoomba Cup.

David’s vision, as group dealer principal of Wippell’s Auto Group, the home to Toowoomba’s Audi Centre, to become a major Weetwood sponsor continues to bear fruit.

“It’s a great honour to be involved in one of Toowoomba’s iconic events,” David said this week.

“Particularly after seeing the success of last year’s race day from a sponsorship, racegoer and punter’s perspective. Despite some small concerns about the Weetwood being moved from autumn to spring, last year’s support for the event has helped ensure the future of the day.

“Traditionally we aim to be involved in lengthy sponsorships. And to think we are coming up to our eighth Weetwood this year is testament to the success of our partnership with Toowoomba Turf Club.

“The club has to be equally up to it and under the leadership of Lizzy King and Kent Woodford, the race day has become a truly professionally-run event heading in a great new direction.

“We also take a lot of confidence from the support of other businesses and the corporate community which only adds to the strength of the race day. As a major sponsor we want to help take the Weetwood race day to an even better place. As a long-term goal we want to help leave it in a better position than when we began.

“After three months of gloomy winter weather, we are all looking forward to getting out now and enjoying some spring feature racing at Clifford Park on Saturday week.”

Toowoomba Turf Club Chief Executive Officer Lizzy King said the club continued to be delighted with the Audi Centre Toowoomba sponsorship.

“To have a top shelf naming right sponsor of such a prestigious event is wonderful,” Ms King said.

“Dave Russell and his team have had such faith in Clifford Park for many years to produce this event, for which we are extremely grateful. It’s a marquis sponsor for a marquis event, they really do go hand-in-hand.”

By Glen McCullough