November 16th, 2007 at 03:31pm
Legendary Australian horse race caller Bryan Martin is retiring. Tomorrow’s meeting at Sandown will be the final race meeting he will call in a career which has spanned 36 years.
Bryan Martin has been a prominent voice in the racing industry, and in many cases has been the voice of the racing industry, and will arguably be most remembered for his call of the 2006 Cox Plate where he called Fields Of Omagh, a horse he part owns, to victory.
I don’t know an awful lot about Bryan Martin, except for the fact that just about every time I have taken any notice of horse racing, his voice has been there. For me at least, Bryan Martin is synonymous with horse racing. However, as I don’t know much about him, I will defer to the good people at racingandsports.com.au and their article on Mr. Martin’s retirement.
Bryan’s close call to the end…
Wednesday, 14 November 2007: Australia’s number one race caller Bryan Martin will hang up the binoculars this Saturday 17th November at Sandown, after a stellar 36 years in broadcasting. Loved by both television viewers and radio listeners alike, Martin is best known for calling his own horse, Fields of Omagh, to win two Cox Plates.
Beginning his unofficial career by calling plastic horses on string on the family kitchen table, Martin quickly developed a love for the sport of racing and a passion for broadcasting – “I started my career as the mail boy at 3AW in 1966, anything to be involved in the profession!”. From there he moved to 5DN in Adelaide, back to Melbourne at 3UZ, 3DB, Sport 927 and finally switching mediums to head up the charge at Racing’s own station – TVN.
Taking Australian Racing to an International level, Martin has called in many countries around the world including Dubai, Hong Kong, New Guinea, Canada New Zealand and every state of Australia. But his most memorable international call was of the 1990 Japan Cup, where he was broadcast to every English speaking nation in the world, only to call Australian favourite Better Loosen Up across the line “Before a crowd of 187,000 fans, it was like calling at the Olympic Games of Racing”.
His thrill at calling horses he loved was taken to a new level, when in 2003 he called his horse Fields of Omagh to win the W.S Cox Plate, for television, radio and on course. His dream was to be repeated in the 2006 Cox Plate, when Bryan called FOO in the horse’s last race before retirement “I knew deep down he could do it, and though it was close to call, I just knew in my heart he had got there”. While the champagne flowed, so did the accolades for a most professional race call against the toughest of odds.
Recognised by not only the public as brilliant in his field, Martin was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for Services to the Horse Racing Industry, twice awarded the “Bert Wolfe” Award for Media Excellence, and has been an Australia Day Ambassador for five years in a row. Most recently, Martin was awarded the Kingston Town Award by Moonee Valley Race Club for Services to the Cox Plate.
While ever present in the racing media, Martin has worked behind the scenes with his passion for the sport driving him to set up many racing programmes. He was a critical part of establishing the Australian Racing Hall of Fame which he has chaired for the last five years, Champions – the Racing Museum, and Living Legends – a rest home for retired Australian and International racehorses, and home of Fields of Omagh. When Bryan calls Correct Weight for the last time this Saturday at Sandown, it will be with a twinkle in his eye “Maybe I’ll join Fields of Omagh and the other retired racing champions at Living Legends!”
For the record, Bryan is photographed with his wife Jill in the second photo.