EVERY great race deserves a great commentary.
We’ve been treated to some memorable performance in the booth over the years. We pick out some of the best commentaries – and some of the funniest!
Larry Collmus – 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic
The brilliant growl that accompanied Mucho Macho Man as he crossed the line at the Breeders’ Cup was the perfect end to one of the great calls of all-time.
Veteran US commentator Larry Collmus put his heart, lungs and soul into his call of the 2013 Classic, a contest where Declaration Of War, Fort Larned and Will Take Charge all had winning chances inside the final furlong.
It was a race for the ages that was more than matched by this amazing and hilarious commentary.
Jim McGrath – 2009 Arc
“He picks up Stacelita, he powers clear!” The smooth Aussie tones of Jim McGrath were at their most pleasing when calling home the greatest horse of his generation in the Arc.
It was Sea The Stars’ acid test, and, like all great commentators, ‘Croc’ had his eye fixed on the favourite throughout.
The line “perfection in equine form” may well have been rehearsed, but it was still a memorable moment.
Dessie Scahill – The Grey Gatsby’s Irish Champion Stakes
This was a proper battle down the home straight and to this day Dessie Scahill’s call is one of the best.
Moore conjured up an amazing late burst from The Grey Gatsby, to the surprise of everyone in the crowd – including Scahill himself.
Dessie was a true professional, but he couldn’t contain his excitement at the death.
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Simon Holt – Edredon Bleu’s Champion Chase
It’s hardly surprising Simon Holt features so heavily in the list – he’s the Don Corleone of commentating.
Unlike Corleone, his voice went almost supersonically high-pitched during the 2000 Champion Chase, a race that saw Tony McCoy snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on Edredon Bleu.
It was wonderful ride and one that caused Holt to almost lose his cool – note the squeak in the line “Edredon Bleu fights back on the near-side!”
Tom Durkin – Arrrrrrr
Tom Durkin was the voice of American racing for decades.
He called some memorable Kentucky Derby’s and Breeders’ Cup Classics.
But he was also renowned for having some fun in the booth. And he let loose at Saratoga in 2008.
Simon Holt – 2016 Champion Chase
This race and this commentary from Holt still make the hairs stand up on the back of the neck.
Sprinter Sacre, who had looked a shadow of his former self following a heart scare in 2014, came roaring back to form with a brilliant Champion Chase win in 2016.
You can hear the emotion pouring out of Holt and down the mic. If this doesn’t give you goosebumps nothing will.
Larry Collmus – My Wife Knows Everything…
A second entry for the legendary Collmus for his brilliant off-the-cuff call at Monmouth Park.
In the line up were two horses with conflicting names: ‘My Wife Knows Everything’ and ‘The Wife Doesn’t Know’.
Take it away, Larry.
Malcolm Tomlinson – Thundering Blue’s York Stakes
I had to include this for pure comedic value, as well as it being a great call.
Dashing grey Thundering Blue weaved through under Fran Berry to land a thrilling renewal of the York Stakes.
In all the excitement, Malcolm Tomlinson began to lose his voice and let out a squeal as Thundering Blue crossed the line. Funny, but absolute class too.
Richard Hoiles – Frankel’s Champion Stakes
Frankel, the undisputed champion of the world, went out in a blaze of glory on his final career start.
He fluffed the start but cruised through the race and edged away from the gutsy Cirrus Des Aigles in front of a packed Ascot grandstand.
Richard Hoiles summed the horse and the occasion up perfectly in this stirring commentary.
Jerry Hannon – Roaring Bull‘s Paddy Power Chase
Jerry Hannon’s iconic call of Roaring Bull still sends racing fans into fits of laughter.
Hannon has become famous for his over-excitable commentary in tight finishes.
But this call from December 2019 tops the lot.
Peter O’Sullevan – 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup
The late great Peter O’Sullevan provided us with the soundtrack to one of the most unforgettable Cheltenham Gold Cup’s of all time.
The legendary grey Desert Orchid looked cooked as mud-lover Yahoo moved into the lead after the second last.
But with the crowd roaring him on, the fan favourite began to rally bravely up the hill. The rest is history.
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