Sky's the limit for racecaller
FOR once in his life, Alton Downs teenager Luke Marlow was “lost for words” after it was announced on national television yesterday that he had won the coveted John Tapp Race Calling Scholarship with Sky Channel in Sydney.
When the reality and magnitude of the achievement had sunk in, Luke, 18, who has honed his skills on country tracks in and around Central Queensland since he was 15, finally said, “I’m over the moon”.
By winning the Tapp Scholarship, the teenager is virtually assured of his dream race calling career coming true as the appointment means a move to Sydney with an immediate 12 months contract with Sky.
“I’m off to the big smoke. This is life-changing for me. It is all I ever wanted and I am so thankful to those that mentored me and also to my family for all their help,” Luke said.
He is the fourth winner of the Tapp Scholarship – named after legendary race caller Johnny Tapp – since its inception just over 10 years ago. The inaugural winner was Matthew Hill, now the premier broadcaster in Sydney who had the honour of announcing the 2011 winner on Sky’s most-watched program Racing Retro.
“I know exactly what Luke would be feeling right now. I remember when my name was announced. It opens up a whole new world,” Mr Hill said.
The two subsequent Tapp Scholarship winners, Barcaldine’s Josh Fleming and Brisbane’s Mitchell Manners, are now prominent callers around the Sydney provincials as well as hosts and panellists on various racing presentations on the Sky network. Sky’s Rod Gallegos said the judging panel was very impressed with Luke, when as a member of the five finalists, he was interviewed in Sydney 10 days ago.
“Luke called a race at Wyong on the Thursday and nailed the call in every detail. The way he conducted the interviews and his general demeanour and presentations meant he ticked all the right boxes”, Gallegos said.
He commences duties with Sky in Sydney from September 1.