Racecaller Alan Thomas to retire on Boxing Day

Racecaller Alan Thomas will retire at end of year. Picture: Mark Cranitch

 

SKY Channel’s Queensland racecaller Alan Thomas is set to retire on Boxing Day after 43 years of broadcasting.

Thomas called his first meeting at the Gold Coast in January 1971 and became SKY’s number one Queensland caller in the winter carnival of 1993.

In between, he spent 13 years with Channel 9.

The 63-year-old said he wants to spend more time with his business, Alan Thomas Real Estate Pty Ltd, and also be able to enjoy the races more.

“You can’t do real estate on the Gold Coast and work every Saturday and Sunday,” he said.

 

Racecallers David Fowler and Alan Thomas. Picture: Mark Cranitch

 

“Plus, being a racecaller means you can’t go to any of the big meetings. Next year I’m going to Royal Ascot and I’ve never been able to do that because it falls during the winter carnival.

“Similarly, I’ve only ever been to one Doncaster and two Golden Slippers. I want to be able to go to a day at the races and enjoy those meetings.”

Thomas said this was something he had planned for the past couple of years.

Thomas said he had lost many of his calling colleagues in recent years owing to ill health and noted racecalling is “a very stressful occupation.”

Thomas was close friends with Pat O’Shea, who passed away earlier this month at the age of just 64.

 

Racecaller Alan Thomas at Ipswich racecourse for a Ben Dorries Story. Pic Mark Cranitch.

 

Wayne Wilson died just four years after hanging up the binoculars.

“I kind of look at the job as being the custodian of people’s money,” he said. “If we get it wrong, suddenly you are saying to people, sorry, you actually don’t have that money you just thought you’d won and now you have to give it back. It’s a high stress job and we’re expected to get it right every time.”

Speculation has already started on who might replace Thomas.

Many believe NSW-based Josh Fleming, a Queenslander, will get the gong.

Another option is to go with Radio TAB’s David Fowler, which would bring Brisbane into line with other states, where one caller takes care of both the on-course and SKY duties.

 

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Brisbane Courier Mail

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