Tony McMahon to call race today in which seven horses have names that start with Craiglea.
Tony McMahon to call race today in which seven horses have names that start with Craiglea.

Tongue-tied? Not our Tony

RACE caller Tony McMahon will be behind the microphone when a likely Australian racing record will test his skills at Mackay TAB races today.

McMahon’s race call will be the cynosure of all ears and eyes when Kennilworth horse owner-breeder Stan Johnson provides a staggering seven of the nine race starters in the first race on the TAB card broadcast nationally.

While one owner may have started seven horses in a single race before in Australia, today’s feat for a race caller is unheralded because of two sets of complexities.

Johnson, who along with wife Marilyn conducts Craiglea Stud, prefixes the names of all his horses under that business identity.

So McMahon, also The Morning Bulletin’s racing writer, will be calling Craiglea Rawie; Craiglea Royale; Craiglea Smoke; Craiglea Edge; Craiglea Gal; Craiglea Matilda while hopefully not forgetting Craiglea Tina.

If that is not difficult enough, Stan Johnson’s horses are all listed to race in his livery of blue, white crossed sashes, white striped sleeves and blue cap.

To make distinguishing the horses easier for McMahon, all seven are likely to race in different coloured caps.

So how does a race caller with 40 years experience feel about the daunting prospect.

“Truly, I’m not being egotistical when I say I am not fazed by the occasion. Actually, I’m looking forward to being part of history. It will be a challenge and a great talking point to be able to discuss with people in the future”, McMahon said.

He said he was very appreciative of Stan Johnson’s consideration in contacting him on Wednesday to provide him with the list of the cap colours his Craiglea horses will carry at Mackay.

“The Johnsons are great for racing. They have over 50 horses in training beginning with the name Craiglea. This is a special occasion for them and I hope my call does justice to the excitement they must be looking forward to”, McMahon said.

Asked what was previously the hardest race he ever called, Tony answered “my first race broadcast”.

“It was in 1969 at Lismore. A two horse race between Surewood and New Answer over a mile and 69 yards. Small fields are the hardest as you run out of words. I remember saying at the finish, New Answer has no answer for Surewood. I was quite proud of that. I hope I feel that way after the first in Mackay on Friday”, he said.

The race, the QTIS 600 2YO Maiden (1050m) will be broadcast on RadioTAB at 12.25pm as well as on Pay TV throughout Australia.



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