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Ian Craig Australian Horse Racing Caller

Ian Craig
Ian Craig was the voice of Sydney racing for almost half a century and retired in 2009 after calling 120,000 horse and greyhound races.

Renowned for his unerring accuracy and professionalism, Craig called his last meeting at Gosford on June 24, 2009 - ironically at the track where it all began for him in 1966.
Craig, 67 at the time of his retirement, was the last of a golden era of race callers - the days before live racing telecasts when radio ruled the sport.

This was an era when the voices of famous callers like Ken Howard, Bert Bryant, Bill Collins, Des Hoysted, John Tapp and Geoff Mahoney painted vivid race descriptions for a huge radio audience.

He began his working life in the family clothing company but used to go down to the old Granville trotting track and practice calling to himself at gymkhanas. It was November 1961 when he got his big break.

"The late, great Ray Conroy was the caller in those days and he was also a client at our shop at Parramatta which is where I got to know him,'' Craig said.

"He knew I was interested in calling and must have taken pity on me one day because he asked if I'd like to call a race that day at the gymkhana. I was nervous but I jumped at the chance. I got through the call OK. I'll never forget it - the winner was Sydney Song driven by none other than JC Caffyn.''

He began to find steady part-time work calling gymkhanas, Richmond dogs and trots, and Bankstown trots. He was then offered the position of No.2 caller behind Hoysted at 2UE in 1965, beginning his long career in radio.

He stayed at 2UE until receiving an offer to join 2KY (now Sky Sports Radio) in September 1968. He then never left the station.

"To still be at the microphone for 2KY over an unbroken 44 years ... to be quite humble about it, I now hold the record as longest serving full-time racing commentator,'' Craig said.

"I've always enjoyed working at 2KY and meeting so many wonderful people. I remember the days when I was on Punters Post-Mortem on Channel 7 on a Sunday morning with the likes of Max Presnell and Frank Kennedy back in the late '60s, early '70s.”

Trotting gave Craig the most embarrassing moment of his broadcast career. It was a Harold Park race in 1966 when Craig mixed up Smokey Blaze and Silver Exchange during his call.

"I had them confused in my call and one of those horses won the race, the other came sixth and I had them the wrong way around,'' Craig admitted. "

I don't think I slept for three days after that. It's a moment that happens to all race callers and I suppose I was fortunate it happened to me early in my career.''

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