MILESTONE CALL: Despite retiring from professional racecalling, Paul Dolan will be in the announcer's box at the Stanthorpe Cup Open this year.
MILESTONE CALL: Despite retiring from professional racecalling, Paul Dolan will be in the announcer's box at the Stanthorpe Cup Open this year. Warren Lynam

Retiring 'Dogsy' to call 40th Cup

Horse Racing: Racecaller Paul Dolan has become part of the furniture at Stanthorpe Jockey Club as the newly retired announcer gets set for his 40th Stanthorpe Cup.

In August the popular caller made the decision to hang up the binoculars from professional racecalling.

But out of loyalty, "Dogsy” as he's affectionately known, still plans to cover a handful of country meets.

Not only is he considered the voice of Queensland greyhound racing, Mr Dolan has built respect and regard in the world of horse racing.

He called his first race at Gayndah in March 1973 and has called at countless Queensland tracks since.

"My first Stanthorpe race was in 1978,” he said.

"A guy called Harold Kirwan, a Toowoomba-based caller, he retired and I knew him and he asked if I'd like to take over Stanthorpe.

"He wanted to hand it over to somebody he knew and someone he thought would do a reasonable job and I've been doing it ever since.”

Mr Dolan's first call in Stanthorpe was the first time he'd been to the track.

"I remember a few things from that day... not the names of the horses,” he said.

"All I remember was that I was pleasantly surprised by the very large crowd that they got. They still get a good crowd.

"I went there thinking there probably might be 500 people but there was two or three thousand.

"It's one of the better quality country meets.

"I think it's a shame they don't have more than one meeting a year but the controlling body dishes out the race dates.

"It's a big track and every horse gets a chance.”

He said loyalty brought him back each year.

"Unless they wanted to replace me or I wanted to pack it away I was always happy to keep going.”

It was his mother's love of racing that drew him in.

"My mother used to go to the races in Brisbane as a punter and she had friends who owned a couple of good horses,” he said.

"She took me along while I was in my teens and whilst the spectacle of the racing at Eagle Farm and Doomben was colourful, bit like a theatre, for some reason I was just intrigued by the racecallers.

"I was captivated by that and thought one day I wouldn't mind having a crack.”

At 65, his final professional call has been pencilled in as the Pat O'Shea Plate, Toowoomba, on September 23.

"I retired from calling radioTAB and for the Sky Channel but I'm still doing about eight or nine meetings a year, one of which will be Stanthorpe,” he said.

"I like to stay involved. Those clubs have been supportive of me all that time so as long as I'm capable of doing a good job I'll do it a few more years.

"I've always felt I've been working for the punter - I've tried to paint a picture for the punters, rather than working for the race club or the TAB.”

The Stanthorpe Cup Open will be held on Saturday, October 20. Gates open at Armstrong Park from 10am.

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