ONE OF HORSERACING’S NEW VOICES
Published: 24 February 2017
It’s one of the horseracing’s unenviable jobs.
The commentator plays a massive role in not only describing a race as it plays out but also adding a tinge of excitement and colour in order to enhance the storyline of the unfolding action.
And a new wave of talent is being unearthed with Brandon Bailey, one of the finalists in an ongoing search for new commentators, calling his first race at Turffontein Racecourse on the weekend.
“I had to break the ice and it was a great way to do it,” Bailey, who called Brazuca home as the winner in a five horse field at the Johannesburg venue, said of his first foray behind the microphone.
‘I have to give a special shoutout to Nico Kritsiotis who made me feel very comfortable behind the mic as soon as he’d handed over to me after calling the first race of the day. Five horses was a great way to start although I’d love to have a crack at a 10-12 horse field next,” he said excitedly.
“I found out I was going to call a race the day before and needless to say the nerves kicked in right after getting the call. The walk from the car to the commentary box was a long one on the day but as the gates crashed open that all disappeared.”
For Bailey, who turns 24 in May, his love affair with horseracing started thanks to his father’s involvement in a number of horses with Lucky Houdalakis, the names Dazzling Dan and Sultan of Song among them, and translated into stints with Mike Azzie and Gary Alexander as a stable employee.
“I always wanted to make a career of it,” Bailey, who currently works on the production side of things at Tellytrack, said of horseracing.
“I started going to the races in high school, the bug bit and I was at the course every Saturday after that,” Bailey said.
One of his favourite race calls was that produced by Craig Peters when calling Marinaresco home to give trainer Mike Bass a fitting send-off as a Group One winner.
“The competition came up and all my colleagues pushed and I gave it a go. The carrot was there and now it’s about following the passion. That first race call was a way to get going and get a feel for it."