From The Caller’s Box

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By Paul Dolan

WHENEVER I attend a greyhound meeting, the question is always posed by a person or persons: “Are you going to call a race?”

My reply is always: “No. Once retired, always retired.”

It’s very humbling that people would like to hear me call a race again after two and a half years of retirement. The latest ‘feeler’ has come from the Capalaba club to do a guest call at their Cup meeting on March 28.

I initially said no, but got thinking about how much Capalaba was a part of my working life. My first greyhound race call in Queensland was in 1973 and it was at Capalaba. Martin Ross, who was the assistant caller to Mick Cox, enticed me to do a race. Guess what, I stuffed it up, calling the wrong dog winning. Even though I had an excuse, having been given a sheet with incorrect scratchings, I still felt like a goose and wanted to hide for the rest of the day.

I probably called more races at Capalaba than any other caller, with the possible exception of Mick Cox. Speaking of Mick, he attended a Capalaba meeting in 2006 and myself and others enticed him to call a race. It had been 24 years since he had called and he did a sterling job. The crowd loved it. Mick wasn’t in the best of health at the time, he was aged 67. He passed away in 2008.

While calling for so many years at Capalaba, I would sometimes picture the track being a TAB venue one day, with Sky television coverage. Then I would pinch myself and say – that will never happen. As we all know, it has happened and it’s a credit to visionaries like former managers Bernie Culey and Bob Patching and current president John Catton and all and sundry who organised it and for the way the track operates nowadays.

Alec Stevens was the club president for many years while I called at Capalaba. I always enjoyed the company of Alec and his wife Judy. Sadly, Judy passed away last month.

Another keen supporter of Capalaba was trainer Bob Vernon, a man very generous with his time to help others. Capalaba stages a Bob Vernon Memorial Maiden race series every year. This year’s final will be on Capalaba Cup day.

So, after some procrastination and hesitation, I decided to give the thumbs up to calling a race as a ‘one off’. That race will be the Bob Vernon Memorial final on March 28 as a mark of respect to not only Bob and his family, but to all those people that I had the pleasure of being associated with at Capalaba for nearly 50 years.

I hope to see you there.

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