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Remembering A Champion

The first juvenile feature in the Sunshine State for the current season takes place at Albion Park this weekend.

And the metropolitan club remembers two previous champions.

The $20,450 Wayne Wilson Paleface Adios Classic will be staged over the 1660m and boasts a full field of ten well-bred starters.

Wilson, the former on-course caller during the late 1970’s to the mid 1980’s, left an indelible mark on the sport of harness racing with his distinct voice and calling style which was recognised by racing fans across Australia.

Born in Gladstone and calling his first race as a 12-year-old, Wilson established himself as one of the finest racing broadcasters of his era.

During his time as the state’s leading harness caller, Wilson called such champions like Paleface Adios, Hondo Grattan, Rip Van Winkle, Gammalite, Popular Alm, Preux Chevalier and Maori’s Idol among many others.

His calls of the 1986 Inter Dominion won by Village Kid and the 1987 Queensland Derby clash of Rufus Young Blood and Gay Adam are legendary.

In 2002, he realised a childhood dream by calling the Melbourne Cup.

Another key aspect of his legacy was his tutorials and advice to young aspiring callers from within Queensland and beyond.

But after a 15-year battle with cancer, he succumbed to the insidious disease in 2014 at the age of 66.

“Wayne Wilson pioneered modern day harness racing broadcasting in Australia, later leaving an indelible imprint in the thoroughbred world. But he loved the harness code as well and importantly, the people in it,” Albion Park Harness Racing Club Chairman David Fowler said.

“There is no doubt that Paleface Adios along with Colin and Shirley Pike were his favourite interstate visitors so the naming of this race in their honour was a no brainer for the club.” Fowler added.

Paleface Adios, a winner of 108 races, campaigned throughout Queensland and enjoyed considerable success at Albion Park.

The leading stable of Grant Dixon are chasing back to back victories in the feature following the victory of Red Charmer last year and the Tamborine based horsesman has a three-pronged attack this year with Cherrys The Best, Miss Moneybags and Saint Kilda Beach all sporting the familiar black and white livery.

Another key runner includes the ideally drawn Maywyn Tough for Graham Dwyer and John Cremin, the Pet Rock gelding is a last start winner.

Dwyer also prepares Springfield Desire and Maywyn No Regrets but both have drawn poorly.

The Wayne Wilson Memorial Paleface Adios Classic is race 8 on the program, scheduled to start at 9.07pm local time.


Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | March 1