The end of the year is always a great time for reflection and an opportunity to take stock of what we have achieved, as well as a time to give thanks to the many people that have helped us throughout the last twelve months. Over the last twenty years of my life race broadcasting has been a constant and ongoing goal, however in a nation such as Australia women’s acceptance on air in the capacity that I still strive to work amongst, is strangely still an enormous challenge. Nevertheless, quite often support and encouragement can turn up where you least expect it! So I would like to take a moment to publicly acknowledge the team at Sandown Park Greyhounds who have become a very important part of my racing life.
Without the constant guidance and support of senior race caller and Greyhound broadcaster Rob Testa in my home state of Victoria, I nearly turned my back on what is undoubtedly the most exciting aspect of live racing coverage. Nothing can prepare you for the many surprises and elements of the unknown when you are calling live and it is the “live” experience that you build up over time that helps you cope and deliver with one of the fastest paced sports in the world. Rob’s ongoing guidance, has also had a flow on effect to other codes of racing that I work with and it is fair to say that the weekly opportunity provided by both the race club and Rob Testa at Sandown Park Greyhounds has been life changing for me!
I would also like to thank and acknowledge additional support and guidance from broadcasters James Van De Maat, Paul Hammon, Ron Hawkswell and Matt Jackson. CEO Greg Miller of Sandown Park Greyhounds and Racing Manager Michael Floyd have backed Rob Testa’s judgement with my capacity as a broadcaster and for that I’m incredibly thankful.
Greyhound racing is not only an incredibly addictive code of racing given the amazing pace and beautiful elegance of the Greyhounds, prospects for women are endless. With over 500 women in the state of Victoria alone licensed to train, as well as the many breeders, judging and stewarding staff and many other roles that women now fulfil on race day, female engagement is now the norm. In addition to the many races won by women in 2017, the highest stakes earning Greyhound event in the world – the TAB Melbourne Cup was taken out by Aston Dee Bee and trained by Seona Thompson.
Recently I had the pleasure at Sandown to broadcast heats of the Laurels, a group two event for female Greyhounds and the prospect to broadcast important lead up races such as these, for me has also been a personal highlight. I would like to conclude with my sincere thanks to everyone within the Greyhound community that have welcomed my presence both on and off air as an addition to their raceday’s and I look forward to further contributing as a broadcaster with the most exciting aspect of sports broadcasting – race calling.
Merry Christmas to you all and a big thank you to the wonderful Greyhounds that provide so many people with so much excitement and fabulous opportunities.
Victoria Shaw, December 2017.