Champions retire when they are good and ready, and race caller Greg Miles is every inch a champion.
This afternoon at Caulfield, the 58-year-old will call his last race, ending 40 years of yeoman service as the voice who stopped the nation a record 36 times.
Last year he passed his boyhood idol Bill Collins. It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that just two men have called the last 71 Melbourne Cups.
Records are always made to be broken, but Greg Miles’ record will be hard to beat.
And it all started when a youngster in short pants heard Collins and Bert Bryant calling the races, and how vibrant they made it sound.
You can throw Joe Brown into the mix, too, and that explains how well taught Miles was when he called his first race as a 17-year-old for the ABC.
“I was so nervous I was shaking, I couldn’t even keep my binoculars steady, I really botched it,” was how Miles recalled his debut.
But he was made of sterner stuff.
When he walks away from the microphone this afternoon, there will be countless memories flooding back, like the first of his champions in Kingston Town and Manikato, then Might and Power, Northerley, Bonecrusher, Makybe Diva, Black Caviar, and Winx.
Those were the thoroughbreds that stood out and I will never forget Miles’ call after Makybe Diva’s third straight Melbourne Cup win in 2005 with: “a champion becomes a legend!”
An historic description, the perfect words.
And that really sums up Greg Miles. A modest man whose calls were crisp, clear, and accurate – the latter the most important for the punters to hear how their hard-earned was faring.
No doubt Miles will be still around the race tracks of Victoria which have been his second homes. There is too much experience that mustn’t be wasted in any number of capacities, bar calling.
But this afternoon in Race 10 at 5:20pm, Greg Miles will make his retirement call. Matt Hill will take the reins after this, so to speak.
French Emotion will be the likely favourite, and there’s no doubt Miles will be feeling the emotion – so an omen bet.
And there are two other omen bets in the top weight – Great Esteem and Plot The Course.
So good calling Greg, and congratulations on such a stellar career. By the way, the name of the race is Bravo Greg Miles.