McMahon's call caps race career

IT loomed as a race caller’s worst nightmare, but Tony McMahon produced the call of his 40-year career yesterday when Australian racing history books were rewritten at Mackay TAB races.

With seven of the eight starters in race one carrying the first name Craiglea, it was never going to be Willy Nic’s day and he ran accordingly into last place.

It was betting favourite Craiglea Royale who beat home Craiglea Matilda, Craiglea Gal, Craiglea Edge, Craiglea Tina, Craiglea Smokie and Craiglea Rawie to give Kennilworth horse owner-breeder Stan Johnson a monumental feat.

But all the attention was on Rockhampton-based McMahon and just how he would cope with calling Johnson’s horses – all racing in the same jockey colours of blue, white crossed sashes and white striped sleeves.

The only difference – all seven raced with different coloured jockey caps.

For those who didn’t hear it, McMahon produced a stellar description of the QTIS 600 2YO Maiden broadcast on RadioTAB and Pay TV throughout Australia.

After the race, McMahon revealed the method he adopted to ace the call – a system of mind association with colours and the second names of the horses.

“Craiglea Roy was the topweight, Stan’s horses usually have a blue cap, it was the number one horse so it had the blue cap.

“Craiglea Royale (white cap) – you think of royal weddings.

“Craiglea Smokey (black cap) – smoke generates black colour.

“Craiglea Edge (yellow cap) – you jump out of a plane you go yellow.

“Craiglea Gal (red cap) – lots of girls wear red dresses.

“Craiglea Matilda (orange cap) – straight away you think of waltzing matilda, you think about western country where it gets very dry and you have the orange sunsets.

“Craiglea Turner (green cap) was the easiest of the lot because I thought of Tina Turner.”

McMahon received no fewer than 20 phone calls of support and also enquiries from media Australia-wide pre and post race.

“I can safely say that this is the highlight of my career,” he said afterwards.

“I knew so many people were tuning in and it’s only human nature a lot of people would, not to be wishing that I stuffed it up, but they were out there to hear you muck it up.

“I pulled it off and I’m very proud.”



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