Through fires, floods and financial turmoil, race caller John Brasch has remained one of the Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club’s greatest advocates.
So, it was no surprise to hear the excitement in his voice when Racing Queensland and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe announced racing at the famed straight-track would be beamed to homes nationwide and the TAB signal switched on from December 9.
“This is an announcement everybody has been waiting years for,” he said.
Brasch will be behind the microphone when the green light is switched on for the first race on Sunday.
His association with Capalaba dates back to his school days; starting when he earned $50 for calling the Saturday afternoon races as a Year 10 student.
He continued to call races there until 1987, after which there was no permanent caller until he returned in 2010.
“(Paul) ‘Dogsy’ Dolan used to organise the rosters and if he wasn’t calling the thoroughbreds on a Saturday afternoon he would call there,” Brasch said.
“He, Anthony Jeffress, Shawn McKenna and Danny Ryan, among others, used to call the races on a rotational basis and I would go down there to watch from time-to-time.”
Following Dolan’s retirement earlier this year Brasch has taken on more calling duties across the state, most notably on Thursday nights at Albion Park.
He admits he had thought about relinquishing his Capalaba role should TAB status not be forthcoming.
However, with the first meeting just around the corner, Brasch looks forward to the track being given the credit it deserves.
“Capalaba has been known as the nursery of champions,” he said.
“Some great greyhounds such as Flying Amy started their careers there.
“There is a lot of history in the place. They used to run 15-race programs there in the 80s and the straight-track championship was hotly contested and drew big sponsorship dollars.
“There was also visionaries such as Bernie Culey who had hoped to secure TAB racing many years before this announcement.”
Brasch said he expected to see more of Queensland’s top trainers utilizing the venue in the new Sunday timeslot.
“Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed more and more quality trainers going there,” he said.
“When I first started going there a run of 20.50sec (366m) was a good run. Now, if you don’t break 20 or 20.10sec then you’re pretty much struggling to win a race.”
Brasch also steered punters into a handy tip for finding a winner at Capalaba.
“The wind-rating factor comes into play. Form students really have to take that into account. One day a greyhound might run 20.40 into a strong head wind then next week runs 20.10 into a tail-wind.
“The rating is taken at the boxes and the starter will relay that to the caller’s tower after each event, with the reading displayed on the semaphore on-course.”