Brian Mobbs was all smiles at Kembla Grange Turf Club Saturday afternoon as he paused with wife Tina for the Mercury’s social photographer.
Less than four hours later he lay on nearby ground, heavily bleeding from his head, critically injured.
Police say Mr Mobbs, 42, of Engadine, was involved in an altercation before he was punched to the head about 4.20pm.
On Monday, relatives kept watch at Wollongong Hospital, where Mr Mobbs remains in a critical but stable condition.
The Mercury understands Mr Mobbs’ son was in close proximity when the punch landed.
Police have viewed CCTV footage from the club as part of an ongoing investigation, but have yet to press any charges. They are appealing for witnesses that may be able to establish the circumstances leading to the hit.
A fellow race-goer, Kevin Morrissey, told the Mercury he heard no argument in the lead-up to the blow.
"I just looked at him on the ground when I heard the thud sound. Then I saw thick blood on the concrete.”