Career ends with a photo finish
AFLEET Boy goes down in the annals of the Gladstone Cup for more than just winning the race.
The horse will be remembered as the last winner called by revered race caller Wayne Wilson, who started his 50-year career at Ferguson Park.
Wilson graciously accepted the invitation from the Gladstone Turf Club to call the feature race, and as he prepared in the broadcast box, he couldn't help give patrons a dose of history.
“I must admit, when I was getting ready to call the race, all the old memories came flooding back and I started giving everyone a lesson in the Gladstone Turf Club before I realised it,” he said.
“I was very nervous, because whilst it's a great honour to be back doing it, racegoers are very unforgiving; you make a mistake and they let you know about it.”
And the racing gods decided to give Wilson a close Cup finish.
He was certain he'd called the correct winner of the race, but to add a little drama, the horses bunched up and the crowd had to wait for a final decision.
“It was great, a very competitive race, and I thought the horse had won by a margin, then they kept dilly-dallying around with the photo finish,” he said.
“I kept, thinking ‘my goodness, don't tell me I'm wrong in a photo finish in my last race' so it was a bit nerve-wracking.”
Wilson said he was “overwhelmed with the celebration” and the day had been a wonderful tribute to his career, as well as being a fitting end.
“It was appropriate and it did seem right to me,” Wilson said.
About 40 members of the Wilson family travelled from Brisbane for the day and were joined by local relatives at the course.
“A lot of my family aren't racing people, they know I'm a race caller, but they don't know how I'm thought of in this great industry, so to have them here, that's very satisfying and rewarding for me.”