The day the voice of Matthew Hill, on Melbourne Cup debut, was more important than all the world leaders

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    The coincidence was too strong to ignore.

    Matthew Hill was born in the year Greg Miles called the first of his record 36 Melbourne Cups. Yesterday, Hill stepped into Miles’ big shoes.

    Hill’s voice stopped the nation for the 100,000 who packed Flemington, the millions who tuned in around Australia, and the 750 million around the world who watched the 157th edition of Australia’s greatest race.

    Hill’s voice was far more important than Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Malcolm Turnbull, or Bill Shorten.

    More 2017 Melbourne Cup
    » Race report: Rekindling wins
    » Who came last
    » Complete finishing order
    » Watch video highlights replay
    » Re-live the race with our live blog
    » Regal Monarch’s horror fall
    » Winning trifecta and quinella
    » Winning exact and first four

    So who is Matthew Hill?

    His mates reckon if it runs, hits, flies, catches, rides, or jumps, Matthew can call it.

    He’s only 36, but he has already called the Olympics, including Usain Bolt and Sally Pearson, in an expansive coverage of equestrian, triathlon, tennis, volleyball, rowing, kayaks, modern pentathlon, and road cycling.

    But it all started as a 14-year-old, when he was allowed into the holy of holies at Flemington to be alongside Greg Miles strutting his Melbourne Cup stuff.

    Hill was hooked.

    He’s called Grand Nationals before, but as he admitted to Channel Seven’s Hamish McLachlan in the lead-up to 2017’s big race, this is the ultimate.

    And he didn’t miss a beat. His voice was strong, clear, precise, and authoritative.

    The reasons for that flowed from the English vowels, his AEIOU, of calling – be Accurate and Entertaining with relative Information that’s Original, and Understood.

    Hill covered all bases from the moment he called “And they’re off” right through to “Rekindling has won the Melbourne Cup”.

    Channel Seven must be congratulated on its superb coverage, headed by Bruce McAvaney, whose passion for thoroughbred racing stands out like the proverbial.

    His pre-Cup interview with Lloyd Williams, seeking his sixth Melbourne Cup, was outstanding. His post-Cup interview with Williams, having won his sixth, prompted Macca to say, “You are now halfway to Bart.”

    Brilliant.

    And his interview with champion jockey Corey Brown after his second Cup success was even better, bringing in Corey’s wife Kylie and three daughters, who were at their first running of the race that stops a nation.

    What a time to debut, with Dad beaming from ear to ear.

    Throw in Macca’s chats with Francesca Cumani, who adds such powerful knowledge and class to the coverage, and the interview with the history-making Michelle Payne as the only female jockey to greet the judge on the first Tuesday in November, and Channel Seven can take a bow.

    But Matthew Hill was on debut.

    He predicted he would have a small scotch and coke after his first-up commitment of calling ten races, and 180 horses. Then he said he would ring his Mum to find out how he fared.

    That was a given, but it’s safe to say Matthew Hill did a bloody fabulous job.

    He’s here for the long haul, and deservedly so.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • November 8th 2017 @ 6:16am
      Perry Bridge said | November 8th 2017 @ 6:16am | ! Report

      Can someone tell me what the Sydney Turf Club is at with their inglorious attempt to claim some attention. “The Everest” – gawd, proof that money can’t buy class, history, prestige, respect.

      A classless display of “MeTooIsm”.

      • November 8th 2017 @ 9:03am
        sheek said | November 8th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        Yes, agreed.

        However, it is the ATC, an amalgamation of AJC & STC.

      • November 8th 2017 @ 12:04pm
        michael steel said | November 8th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

        The Everest was great. can’t wait for next year. Is there some connection?

    • November 8th 2017 @ 9:01am
      sheek said | November 8th 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      Gidday David,

      i thought Matty Hill was excellent in his first call.

      He used many of the same words & phrases as Greg Miles, but that’s okay. Nothing wrong with “borrowing” from his great predecessor, as a starting point.

      As he progresses he will become his own man, with his own unique imprint.

    • November 8th 2017 @ 11:26am
      Addington said | November 8th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

      West Australia’s caller Darren M’Caulay copied Johnny Tapp to tee and is damned good at it.
      Callers of yesteryear will always remain with us and I like the modern day callers reminding us of them with a few of their expressions.
      Matty Hill did a great job in his first cup ….very accurate.

    • November 8th 2017 @ 5:24pm
      michael barton said | November 8th 2017 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

      While I agree that Bruce McAvaney is genuinely passionate and has a certain polish, to me he’s always got a ‘cringe’ factor about him as well. It’s something to do with the way he moves in too close to his interviewees, at times touching them, a kind of obsequiousness that makes me want to turn away. Perhaps this doesn’t matter much in the height of emotions such as immediately post-cup, but can’t help thinking that somewhere earlier in Bruce’s career he didn’t get the right feedback on his personal touch, or if he did he ignored it, and now he is what he is.

    • November 8th 2017 @ 8:58pm
      Kangajets said | November 8th 2017 @ 8:58pm | ! Report

      750 million watch the Mrlbourne cup .
      Not sure I believe that .

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