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By David Fowler | Tuesday, April 3, 2018

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.

I clearly remember when Steve Hawkins hit the Brisbane big smoke in 1988, the newest recruit to 4TAB as it was known then.

The bright lights of Treasury Casino would be too tempting a lure before his first day on the job, working with the late Wayne Wilson at a Friday Beaudesert meeting.

We were living in the same suburb where Steve and his fledgling family were temporarily located after moving from Grafton.

It had been a rollicking night at he Albion Park dogs which is where the curtain sensibly should have come down en route to his baptism of fire with the "big Dub" the following day.

He would have nothing of it so who I was to argue! "Casino, thanks driver," we yelled.

Again the vision of Steve playing roulette with drink, or drinks, in hand is as clear as day.

A bit guilty, maybe, but who was to stop a boy from the bush enjoying the city!

He was in full stride as I finally called it quits.

Needless to say, the next day at Beaudesert wouldn't be forgotten with Wayne standing shotgun in the box as Steve went through his paces somewhat quieter than 12 hours before.

We had a lot of fun going to provincial meetings around the same time when atmosphere at the track was still a factor in the day out.

He became the voice of racing at the Gold Coast over the last two decades but what is not as well known is he became a gun salesperson for the radio station in recent years.

His personality and gift of the gab saw revenue rise to unprecedented heights which is a great yardstick for his ability in that line of work.

He would always be swift to help rather than hinder and has made many friends in his time in Brisbane.

In those two decades he was also a Gold Coast Turf Club director and a greyhound representative on the Racing Queensland Board.

His resignation came as somewhat of a surprise but I wish him well in his future endeavours

One thing is for certain. Whatever he tackles, will be given 110%. He knows nothing less.


Liam Howley's $1000 fine from Racing NSW stipes for not notifying a tactic change with Tancred Stakes winner Almandin was considering "posturing" by many.

I'm fairly certain Marc Van Gestel and his team would have been surprised by the backlash they received in the various forms of social media.

It would be a very small percentage who would be enraged by Kerrin McEvoy's decision to roll forward and take close order on main rival Gailo Chop rather than snick back as was the case in the Australian Cup at Flemington.

Two different races on different tracks and over different distances but the whole issue did bring the narrative of speed maps into the spotlight.

Rule enforcers, read stewards, are travelling a dangerous path if they treat speed maps as more than a guide.

And I would argue not all of these maps would be exactly the same.

When the gates open, opportunities often present themselves that can't be charted on a speed map.

This encroachment into gambling of speed maps having biblical status rather than as a handy tool is a concern.

And administrators should give punters a tad more respect rather than adopting a "nanny state" approach to their gambling pursuits,

Next thing they'll be running in lanes!


Last week's comment about the Doomben track was not overstated after observing the weekend racing.

Again, a bias to on-pace and near the rail was clearly evident.

An unfortunate by-product developed later in the day when jockeys started to ride horses out of their normal patterns so the on-pace tempo increased allowing run-on horses to have the last shot.

In contrast, Ipswich played to a bias out wide last Wednesday with near the inside being "poison".

As discussed last week, an urgent extended period of fine weather is needed as the Carnival looms large.

The chances of that appear slim.

In closing, does Doomben need an April 11 midweek meeting?

Most would respond with a resounding 'no'

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David Fowler
David Fowler
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best