VOICE OF REASON: Popular race caller Paul Dolan reflects on his last stint at Bundamba before a final Ipswich farewell at the Showgrounds.
VOICE OF REASON: Popular race caller Paul Dolan reflects on his last stint at Bundamba before a final Ipswich farewell at the Showgrounds. Cordell Richardson

Farewell Paul: Ipswich thanks a Qld racing icon

AFTER 45 years of race calling, Paul Dolan deserved a memorable Ipswich farewell.

While he denied shedding a tear, the popular racing icon savoured his final moment calling the Ipswich Futurity race at the Ipswich Showgrounds last Saturday night.

"As the lure rolled for the Futurity, I felt lucky that I've had such a great innings and been able to portray the picture of so many races to a listening audience,'' Dolan said.

The last Ipswich race Dolan called was won by Crazy Bella, trained by Joanne Price.

"I have had the pleasure of calling her brilliant stayer Mullaway in recent years. He was an exceptionally talented middle distance dog,'' Dolan said.

"I was thrilled that Crazy Bella won for Joanne.''

Dolan said it was a wonderful night.

"Stalwarts of yesteryear attended including Chris and Tina Williams, Ngaire Milne, Doug and Carol Ballinger, Jinxy Molloy and Les Retschlag,'' the departing race caller said.

"Some great reminiscing yarns were told.''

Affectionally known as  "Dogsy,'' Dolan received a fitting send-off, having serviced Ipswich racing with professionalism, reliability and a sense of fun.

Those who read his weekly Dogwatch column in The Queensland Times would have shared his eye for the quirky as much as his valuable insights about greyhound racing in South East Queensland, especially Ipswich.

While much of his time was spent calling Ipswich greyhound races, Dolan was also a regular at the Ipswich Turf Club.

Asked what was the most satisfying part of his job, Dolan answered: "Making people happy''.

"Be it a horse race or greyhound race, if the favourite wins, around 30 percent of the audience have backed it,'' he said. "If a 50 to 1 shot wins, not many punters are happy but the trainer and owner are. So every race call brings good news to someone.''

Those are wise words from one of Queensland's most knowledgeable race callers.

 

Paul Dolan at his final Ipswich Turf Club meeting as a race caller.
Paul Dolan at his final Ipswich Turf Club meeting as a race caller. Cordell Richardson

 

While his main farewell was at the Showgrounds last Saturday night, Dolan also had a quiet moment to reflect at the Ipswich Turf Club a day earlier.

"I was pleased to have a long-time friend and Ipswich resident Pat 'Jinxy' Molloy in the box all day,'' Dolan said.

"I was not really emotional because I'm not disappearing off the planet. I can now attend Ipswich race days in a social capacity.''

Dolan had called at the turf club since around 1990 in a casual arrangement.

"As (Ipswich Turf Club general manager) Brett Kitching pointed out, I have done around 70 to 80 race meetings in the 14 years that he has been the GM,'' Dolan said.

While Dolan never got to call an Ipswich Cup or Eye Liner Stakes, the first horse he had a share in as an owner won her maiden at Bundamba in 1978.

She was named Rush Past.

Another track legend Vince Curry called the race as Dolan was a cheering spectator.

Dolan called his final greyhound race at Albion Park on Thursday night.

He started his career working for radio 4BC when then they had the racing broadcasting rights from 1979-92. He then continued with Radio TAB, also working for ABC radio and television, and Channel 9.

He began his turf calling at Gayndah in March, 1973.

His first greyhound call was in August, 1973 at Tweed Heads.

Apart from Ipswich, he has called at race tracks from Laura in the gulf to Quilpie and Mt Isa in the west to Stanthorpe in the south, "and dozens of tracks in between''.

His greyhound race calling focused on South East Queensland. He worked at the Gabba greyhounds full-time from 1986-93, then Albion Park (1993-2018). That's 32 years calling in the Brisbane Metropolitan area.

Since around 1980, he also covered the dogs at provincial tracks Beenleigh, Gold Coast, Lawnton and Capalaba.

That's where his nickname came from.

"In the 1980s, Radio 4BC announcer Stuart Robertson decided to give all announcers/presenters a nickname, with the nick to start with the same letter as their surname,'' Dolan recalled.

"Dogs Dolan was a natural fit because I called the dogs.''

Asked to compare the codes, Dolan offered his insights.

"Horses were certainly more challenging because of the field sizes,'' he said.

"Also you have a much bigger audience than with the greyhounds. But it's equally important to be accurate and entertaining, whether it's gallops, trots or greyhounds.''

He said the toughest part of race calling was all the travelling.

"You spend more time in your car than at the racetracks,'' he said.

"That's what wore me down in the end, the South East Queensland traffic gridlock. And it's not going to improve.''

However, he's looking forward to travelling at less hectic pace in the future.

"I have a son who lives in Mackay with three children (my grandchildren),'' he said. "I intend to spend time up there.

"And I have a daughter who lives in London, England. That's very handy for free accommodation in one of the world's great cities.''

Wherever that more relaxed travel takes him, Dolan will be remembered in Ipswich as one of our best.



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