Kid who stood on crate to call first race goes international
LUKE Marlow has come a long way from the short 15-year-old boy who stood on a milk crate to call his first live horse race at Yeppoon in 2008.
With Singapore racing set to resume on Saturday after a coronavirus-enforced shutdown, the 27-year-old racecaller has called time on his two-year contract there, which was up for renewal in October.
Marlow, who grew up in Central Queensland at Thangool and Rockhampton, has returned to Sydney with his partner, jockey Alysha Collett, who he met during his Singapore stint.
As he reflected this week on his first time living overseas, Marlow did not forget where it all started for him.
“Yeah I called my first race at Keppel Park, Yeppoon - I remember it well,” Marlow said.
“My dad actually trained the winner of the race.
“Look, I’ve got to thank and credit that opportunity to Tony McMahon who was calling that day.
“That first opportunity really set me on the path to where I’ve got to today.”
For those who don’t know, the broadcast box at Yeppoon was, and still is, a fairly primitive set-up.
The open-air facility has the race caller literally standing right alongside the punters and certainly within earshot of them - quite a daunting task for a young kid having his first crack at the caper, off a few hours’ notice mind you.
“I’d just gone to the races with dad that day, I never expected it to happen,” Marlow said.
“Tony offered me the chance to do that in the hours before the race.
“I was super keen and jumped at the chance.
“I actually was quite short, I couldn’t see through the binoculars, so I had to stand on a milk crate.
“It was an open box so you had a lot of the trainers standing around you.
“So it was a good experience for me off the bat, to just be exposed to that.
“From there I just started going around to all of the bush tracks, and even Rocky itself, practising (race calling) in the grandstands and that’s how I got started.”
Marlow has been a full-time race caller now for the best part of a decade including a seven-year stint broadcasting thoroughbred, harness and greyhound races across New South Wales.
He passed through Sky Racing’s John Tapp Race Caller Scholarship system - a pathway that has produced the likes of Matthew Hill, Josh Fleming, Anthony Manton, Mitchell Manners, Kyle Galley and Matthew Jackson to name a few.
Marlow said his highlights in Singapore were calling big races like the Kranji Mile and Singapore Gold Cup and horses like Debt Collector.
“Debt Collector was a really good horse and probably my favourite just because of his racing style,” he said.
“He used to drop out last and just charge home over the top.
“So it was really exciting calling him in some of the big Group 1s in Singapore.
“And yeah look, it was not an easy decision for me to leave Singapore but it was obviously COVID related and Alysha was keen to try riding in Sydney.”
So what’s next for Luke Marlow?
“At the moment I’m just enjoying a bit of down time,” he said.
“I’ve worked full-time since I was pretty young so we’ll just wait and see what’s on the horizon.”