Collins Employee – Athlete at Rio Olympics

Posted on August 19th, 2016


WHEN work gets in the way of training for Rio-bound Sydney boxer Daniel Lewis he just gets on with the job — steelcap boots and all.

Lewis works in a quarry operating machinery from 6am to 5.30pm six days a week when he’s not away on training camp which makes it hard to find time to hit the pads or pound the pavement.

“When I’m preparing for a competition if I’m working I can’t really train at all,” Lewis said.

“I usually work all day and then crash out when I get home.

“Sometimes if I finish early I’ll do pads or something or go for a jog — or even at work if I have to go somewhere I’ll just jog there with the steelcaps (boots) on, I’ve done that plenty of times.”

His real training is done in camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra or when he’s overseas including the Philippines where he prepared for the Asia/Oceania Championships last month.

It was at those championships in China where the 22-year-old booked his ticket to Rio by winning a bronze medal in the 75kg division.

Lewis and his journey to the Olympic Games is like a chapter straight from the book on boxing’s school of hard knocks.

There’s his blue collar work ethic at the Spring Farm quarry, his lean and mean look complete with tattoos on both arms and his neck, his Twitter handle @dropbombslewis, and the setbacks he’s had to overcome just to stay in the game.

In 2011 he won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the 64kg category and a year later looked a good chance to qualify for the London Olympics until he broke his jaw in a qualifying fight.


After almost a year out of the ring, Lewis got back in and in 2013 became national champion in the 69kg division at just 19 years old.

Then in 2014 at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games he won his first two fights as a 69kg competitor but wasn’t allowed to start his third bout after officials ruled a cut above his eye was too severe to continue.

“I wanted to turn pro after that and get out of the amateur game,” Lewis said.

“But my family, especially mum and dad convinced me to stay.

“After I broke my jaw in 2012 and was out for a year I stuck around. In my amateur career I’ve won state and national titles and won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games and the Olympics is the last piece of the puzzle.

“Oh man this is a dream I’ve been working towards for years, I’ve committed so much of my life to it and I’m not going there for a tracksuit, I’m going for a medal.”

Lewis was born and raised in Sydney as the son of a boxer, Jason, who is also now his trainer.

He had his first fight at the age of 11, which he won by TKO, and says he was destined for a career in the sport.

“Dad used to fight and so did my big brother and I looked up to them,” Lewis said.

“So I’ve been around boxing my whole life and now it’s paid off I guess.”

But his main inspiration heading to Rio comes from being a father himself, to 18-month-old son Levi.

“I just think of how I used to look at my dad and think he was the greatest man alive, and I still do,” Lewis said.

“I want to give my son that same image of me and make all that time travelling away worthwhile.”

He says it’s the almost solitary existence of a boxer that draws him to the sport.

“You haven’t got a team like other sports, if you’re not feeling the best you can’t just ask someone else to do it for you,” Lewis said.

“It’s all about you and you bring that into the ring.”

Read the full article in The Advertiser here >
Photos: Brett Costello.

Robert Thompson praises new Port Macquarie track

Posted on June 27th, 2016


Champion jockey Robert Thompson believes the renovation at Port Macquarie has made the biggest change to a racing surface he has seen in his career.

The new Port track got a real test for its opening day after the recent wet weather and performed differently to how it had for the past couple of decades.

“I only had two rides in the last couple of races and got there and couldn’t believe they were winning along the inside fence,” Thompson said. “When it was raining that never happens.

“For years it was a race to the outside fence when it was that wet and you wanted to be scraping your little toe on it getting splinters there.

“All the work they have done on it has made it a very good track and more even. It is completely different.

“It is a great surface and they are doing the right thing by it and only racing there once month. It is going to be a great asset for the industry.”

Meanwhile, Wyong trainer Allan Kehoe is confident Ice Bucket can keep up his good fresh in the Coonamble Cannonball, which has transferred to Gilgandra.
“He does good first-up,” Kehoe admitted. “He’s pretty forward. He’s had a good freshen up and a nice soft trial at Wyong. He’s pretty much on song.”

Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn will be out to win his hometown cup with Hollywood Barbie, Dream Speed and Explosive One on Sunday.
“This is my best ever chance of winning a race I’ve always wanted to win,” Dunn said.
“Dream Speed is probably not as good a horse as Hollywood Barbie but he’s done very well and he’s extremely good on wet tracks.”

Article featured in SMH Sport monday 25th of June read the full article here >

For more information on our racecourse services click here >


Wauchope Cup winner praises the work Collins have done at Port Macquarie RaceCourse

Posted on June 27th, 2016


Mare Parraay claims the Wauchope Cup at the first meeting since Port Macquarie track upgrade.

NEWCASTLE jockey Andrew Gibbons rode to glory on Sunday atop Parraay to claim the Wauchope RSL Club Wauchope Cup.

He pipped Sofin, who was jockeyed by Matthew McGuren, to claim victory in front of a healthy crowd who turned out to support the meeting despite the wet weather. Clunes Rocket placed third.

It was the first meet at Port Macquarie since the track underwent a facelift. Gibbons sang the praises of not only his mare, but of the work done to the surface.

“I’ve raced here before and the upgrade has made a massive difference,” he said.

“She’s a very good mare that’s been racing in a lot harder company. Coming back in grade and in weight was the key today on a soft track.

Gibbons suspected the day would be called off due to the rain, but said the great work done to the rejuvenated track helped with drainage.

“There was talk there would be more rain as the day went on but it helps that they’ve done such a great job on the new track,” he said.

“You couldn’t get anywhere near the edge before because the drainage wasn’t up to standard, but now it’s fantastic.”

Parraay breeder and owner Lucas Miller echoed the sentiments of his jockey and was happy to get the win.

“She’s been a long time out of the winning stall. She’s trialled well on heavy and soft tracks but the new track made the difference,” he said.

“Looking at the rain all morning we didn’t think we’d be coming. It’s a great upgrade.

“It’s done really well to drain. It looks like it will be a really good track in the long term.”

Kempsey’s Hilary Dew joined many other trainers at the meeting and it’s unanimous – the new track is a hit.

“The track has held up beautifully considering the amount of rain and the fact it’s a new surface,” he said.

“I was worried that the rain would mean it was called off but it’s a credit to the workers and how well they’ve done on the track.”

Race steward Drew Smith had nothing but good things to say of proceedings, despite the dreadful weather.

“In the past it probably would have been called off. We couldn’t be happier with how things have gone,” he said.

Article featured in Port Macquarie news monday 27th of June read the full article and photo gallery here >

For more information on our racecourse services click here >



Port Macquarie Race Club Barrier Trials 18/5/16.

Posted on June 6th, 2016

Port Macquarie Race Club Barrier Trials 18/5/16.

Watch a video clip of the barrier trials on the Course Proper which was recently constructed by M. Collins & Sons for the Port Macquarie Race Club.


M. Collins & Sons is a major supplier of specialised soils, growing media and sportsturf to Sydney’s metropolitan as well as provincial and country racecourses.

Click here for more information on M. Collins & Sons racecourse services >>

Port Macquarie Race Course construction by M Collins & Sons (Contractors)

Posted on February 22nd, 2016

Turfcraft International recently published a story about the Port Macquarie Race Course that M Collins & Sons (Contractors) Pty Ltd are involved in the construction with.

Article Published in Turfcraft International January / February 2016 edition

Article by Alistair Dowie



Port track designed to weather a storm

Delivery of nearly $4 million of works at the Port Macquarie Racing Club on the NSW mid-north coast is on track for June this year. The major project involving reconstruction of the sand track followed by the course proper has been part of a collaborative approach between the three stakeholders the Port Macquarie Race Club (the owners), Racing NSW (the funding providers) and M. Collins and Sons Contractors Pty Ltd (the Principal Contractor). Work started with the upgrade of the sand track which started in March 2015 with a budget of $400,000.

The work included ensuring the structural integrity of the existing stabilised road base layer and rectifying any defects, refurbishing the sand profile to create a suitable sand training track as per Racing NSW minimum standards, and upgrading the irrigation system, and plinths where failing or close to the end of their useful life.  A new PVC railings system was installed on the inside and outside of the sand track. The sand track measured 1505 metres in circumference and was 7.5 metres wide (no chutes).  While the sand track was being upgraded trainers used the course proper for training purposes while racing was halted.

Racing NSW Projects Manager Callum Brown said the sand track upgrade was completed in June 2015 a six week build and construction of the course proper followed immediately.  The existing profile for the course proper was a sandy loam with slit drainage. There was a 120-150mm organic layer capping the track.

The rebuild was budgeted at $3.3 million and the scope of work included:

  1. removal of the top organic layer of the track profile;
  2. Reshaping of the camber (crossfall) on the home and back turns to minimise any track bias when racing;
  3. Widening of the back turn and the home straight to ensure safe racing widths;
  4. Capping of the table drain on the outside of the home straight ; and
  5. Rebuilding a premium all-weather turf surface that drained to a minimum of 180mm/hr, including all starting chutes. That included earthworks, upgrade of track furniture, irrigation and pumping systems and water storage to support the maintenance and operation of the upgraded track.

Mr Brown said the work on the course proper started in July 2015 and completion was set for March this year and a proposed first race meeting in June. The track covers an area of 3.4 hectares including 1500m, 1200m and 2000m chute starts. The awarded tender from M Collins & Sons was to rebuild the track with a perched water table profile that could drain to a minimum of 180mm/hr.

Mr Brown said the works included:

  • removal of the existing track profile and drainage to 400mm depth;
  • widening of the home straight and back turn from 13m to 17m;
  •  subgrade to minimum 98% standard compaction;
  • install 10 kilometres of subsoil drainage pipes that feed stormwater into the infield storage dams
    for reuse;
  • install 100mm gravel blanket layer;
  • install 90/10 sandy loam growing medium similar to USGA specifications (a cost effective solution sourcing local sands)
  • perched water table to USGA design specifications (bridging factor, porosity, moisture release
    curve etc.);
  • washed male sterile kikuyu turf from Billabong Turf Farm in Richmond, NSW;
  • Installation of a new irrigation dual row (valve in head) Toro Infinity irrigation system, new pump
    shed and pumping system, moisture sensors and Toro control system;
  • construction of a new detention basin in the infield capable of storing 8000m3 of water; and
  • new winning post and distance markers.

Mr Brown said the new track was constructed with 2% uniform positive camber (sloping outside rail to inside rail) on straights and 3 to 6% uniform positive camber on turns.
He said construction of the course proper was on target with the turf fully laid before Christmas and root depths of 150-200 by early January.

From the club:

Port Macquarie CEO Michael Bowman said the rebuild had been required to correct inconsistent drainage rates around and across the old track. The club hosts 23 meetings in total including two for the nearby Wauchope RC.
Mr Bowman said the work had improved the 1500m chute transition onto the course proper as well improving drainage.

From the contractor:

M. Collins and Sons Managing Director Matt Collins said the “design and construct” project had been a collaborative effort that ensured input into all components of the project and which was reflected in the inclusions and quality of construction. It was a shared obligation for approval of the design features of the new track. The approach meant a lot of open communications to ensure “best in class” for whatever aspect of construction involved.

He said M Collins and Sons provided a detailed quality construction plan and there were inspection and test milestones for a large number of components of the design. There was a system of detailed checks and balances during design and construction particularly in the area of gravel for the drainage layer, the perched water table growing medium and turf surface used. Mr Collins said “One of the key features of the project design involved widening the home turn and the straight to eliminate the bias that existed on the original track. The design brief was to preserve the traditional uphill run to the rise at the 280 metre mark and the downhill run to the winning post. In order to construct these improvements, it was necessary to excavate a substantial quantity of hard rock from within the bank on the outside of the course proper and from the rock shelf situated under the course proper.

These works have vastly improved the alignment of the straight with the home turn and compliment the overall reconstruction works on the course proper.”