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Your call, Brendon

Monday, 12th February, 2018

Brendon Martin (left) with veteran race caller and mentor Brad Berto in the broadcast box where Martin made his calling debut on Saturday night. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan Brendon Martin (left) with veteran race caller and mentor Brad Berto in the broadcast box where Martin made his calling debut on Saturday night. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

By Tyler Hannigan

Saturday night’s harness meeting was a special occasion as Brendon Martin made his official debut as a race caller.

Martin has been under the watchful eye of veteran caller Brad Berto since the start of the season and had previously only called the trials at the start or end of each night but was given the green light to make his first proper call on Saturday night.

“Tonight was a bit of a surprise,” Martin admitted after the meeting.

“I was talking to Brad (Berto) to see if I could call the races, record it, and then listen back later for a bit of practice.

“But he surprised me by saying that there’s a trial tonight that you can call and you can also call the first race.

“The nerves were a bit ‘how you going’ before the race but when the horses went down the back straight I just sort of let everything go and let it flow and it turned out to be a really exciting race.”

His first race did not lack in drama and excitement. As the horses rounded the final corner the leader galloped to leave it wide open for Hawaiian Sun Rise and Pats Legacy down the home straight. The two battled it out with Hawaiian Sun Rise eventually winning in a photo finish.

Martin says he started calling just as a bit of fun for himself and his mates at the pub while watching the races at the pub.

“It started off just as a bit of a hobby and something to do at the pub with the races on the TAB screens,” Martin explained.

“People would ask me to call the race just for a bit of a laugh and then I was talking to the president of the harness club and they said that if I was willing then they’d be happy to have me.

“One thing led to another and then I started to call the trials and got my first gig tonight.”

Martin said that to be able to learn from such an experienced race caller in Berto has been fantastic.

“He’s one of the best here in town obviously,” Martin said of Berto.

“He does the trots, he does the Silver City Cup with the gallopers and he has called the dogs as well.

“To be able to learn from Brad from his 40-year experience is just amazing. He’s taught me so much is such a short amount of time and there’s still a long way to go.

“I thank him every bit for it because it’s been quite different to what I thought it would be but he’s put me on the right track and now I’ve had my first gig.”

Those who know Martin are aware of his admiration for race caller Luke Marlow, who occasionally calls in Broken Hill, but he said that like many aspiring callers there is one that stand outs as a hero.

“Any race caller would say that the best caller in the industry was Greg Miles,” Martin said.

“He retired recently but he was the number one race caller in Melbourne and called over 30 Melbourne Cups on Channel 7 and the ABC. He was fluent and never got overwhelmed.”

While he admits calling the Melbourne Cup would be great, Martin says his goals for the future are more local and a little bit different to most.

“At the moment my goal is to try and call a full year of the trots,” he said.

“And going on from that just keep calling in Broken Hill whether that is the trots, the gallopers or even the dogs. If I get a chance anywhere I’d be more than happy to take it and go further. I just want to take every opportunity that I might get.

“My dream though, which might sound a little odd, is to call the Louth races. The family has always gone up there and I’ve always wanted to be able to call the races there,” Martin added.

“And maybe even do a bit of outback calling. Cobar, Peterborough and places like that.”

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