Murrumbidgee Turf Club (MTC) chief executive Scott Sanbrook has resigned.
Sanbrook's seven-year tenure will come to a close on March 1 after he shocked the club with his resignation on Monday.
He will leave the MTC to pursue a business opportunity as a consultant in the racing industry.
Sanbrook has established himself as one of the leading administrators in country racing during his seven years at the club and said the time is right for change.
"I was so grateful to be given the opportunity by the board of directors and I feel like we've made a lot of progress in the last seven years," Sanbrook said.
"I have a couple of opportunities on the horizon and I feel the timing is right to take them.
"The club finds itself in a strong position and it's good to be going while we're still on the way up.
"It's really sad to be going but at the same time, I'm looking forward to the next challenge."
MTC president Stuart Lamont said the club did not see the resignation coming.
“Not at all,” Lamont said.
"Scott has been not just a wonderful employee, but a good friend as well, to so many people in racing.
"Scott has been an outstanding CEO for the club and we're very sorry to see him leave.”
Lamont said Sanbrook’s forward-thinking was one of his greatest strengths, along with his ability to ‘keep racing interesting out of carnival time’.
He said he was respected by all facets of the racing industry and had played a major part in MTC’s ongoing success.
MTC has been a finalist in Racing NSW Country's TAB Club of the Year every year since Sanbrook's arrival, taking out the title on two occasions.
Wagga Gold Cup prizemoney has increased from $140,000 to $170,000 during that time, while the purse for the Wagga Town Plate has risen significantly from $65,000 to $150,000.
Sanbrook has overseen projects such as the installation of the big screen, upgrades to the mounting yard and Champagne Bar, as well as track drainage and the sand track.
He has a strong focus on programming and introduced the Wagga Stayers Series, which now includes races such as the Riverina Cup, Mountaineer Cup and Tom Patton Cup.
He also introduced the Stan Sadleir Stakes meeting, which now boasts showcase status, and the Wagga-based premierships, where $14,000 is distributed to local trainers.
More recently, the arrival of Rock at the Races has increased the club’s non-racing revenue substantially.
Sanbrook has also served as Southern District Racing Association (SDRA) secretary during this time, where he has also been active, introducing the winter series and awards night.
Sanbrook believes the future is bright for the club.
“The club is extremely fortunate to have a board of directors with such a diverse skill set, as well as dedicated and hard working staff. I was really lucky to receive the support I have during my time here,” Sanbrook said.
“It’s a great club to be involved in. The position would certainly make plenty of appeal to those interested in racing administration.”
MTC will now begin the search for it’s third chief executive since 2000. The club will begin advertising for a replacement on Wednesday.