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MY CALL: RACING NEEDS MORE POEPLE LIKE THIS

By David Fowler | Tuesday, March 26, 2019

David Fowler is the principal thoroughbred caller for Radio TAB. David, who is a keen form student and punter, has enjoyed a lifetime involvement in the racing media. His personal blog, ‘My Call’, appears exclusively on HRO.

Often the best is produced under pressure.

Owner-breeder Mike Crooks delivered on this theory in spades at the weekend.

Mike had to step up to the plate to speak at the presentation after his very good three-year-old Mishani Hustler had won the $200,000 TAB QTIS 3yo Jewel at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Pretty simple you might think but not quite.

It was a year since his wife … and best mate ...Patti has passed after a long illness. Her passion for the owning-breeding caper was as fervent as Mike's was.

While that would have been foremost in his mind, there was also the delicate matter of the impasse between his winning trainer Ben Currie and the Brisbane Racing Club. (Currie is barred from attending BRC meetings)

Knowing Mike's character traits, this speech could have gone pearshaped on a number of fronts and I don't say that disrespectfully.

Generally, he doesn't hold back, whatever the emotion.

Flanked by his family, Mike spoke in a considered and emotional way.

It was brilliant mate.

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You appreciate the privilege of being a commentator / journalist when you can tell a good story because you know the subject well.

Since I met Mike Crooks a long time ago he has never changed.

Hail and hearty is probably too old fashioned a term to describe him. Knockabout is more apt.

He's never been short of a quid in recent times due to his successful Barrier Reef Pools business but he doesn't flaunt it.

What struck me when we first met was his almost boyish enthusiasm to the concept of winning.

Whether it's owning one or backing one, the post race celebrations are infectious.

No one gets left out. Everyone shares in the wash up.

And on the flip side, commiserations are generally shared. That's the deal.

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We met through the trots a few decades ago where he enjoyed some, but not considerable, success. I later convinced him to join me on the Albion Park trots committee.

When he launched into the thoroughbred world again success happened but was fleeting.

Personally, I always thought he was trying to take shortcuts in one way or another to achieve big results.

Not that it was my business to tell him that and nor I did.

I wished him well when he told me about seven years ago he was going to "get serious about this owning and breeding caper" but, on this occasion, didn't quite share his enthusiasm.

How wrong I was.

There has been a truckload of home bred winners under a variety of trainers.

And as I outlined earlier, he hasn't changed.

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Queensland racing needs more Mike Crooks. Horse lovers who place their faith locally, happy to breed them, happy to keep them and happy to have a bet on them.

And realistic enough to know this caper is a win / lose affair. Success and financial return is not assured but earned.

I make no secret of the fact I get an extra kick out of calling one of his winners and never fail to give him a "wrap" over the course amplification as he strides into the enclosure.

It's usually greeted with the obligatory fist pump.

It's becoming pretty regular. And that's a good thing.

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