Call of the country races
THE MOUNT Perry races were a travelling story for Brisbane-based race caller Paul Dolan.
"You call them as you see it; you can't rehearse it; each one's a story that unfolds," Dolan said.
"I look for the favourite - does he begin good or begin slow or begin in-between, because most punters back the favourite - but not everyone.
"While I've done that they've gone about 50m so I then start to call first, second, third until only 50m or 100m (to go) until they've sorted themselves out."
Dolan got his start as an assistant to Barry Green calling country races in Kilcoy and Nanango, but changed to calling greyhounds as there were "no vacancies for many years in the gallops".
He now calls about 2000 races a year and said the rhythm in race-calling comes from taking it slowly and building up the speed.
"The quicker you try to spit the names out, the more likely you are to make a mistake," he said.
Saturday's races at the foot of the mountain had plenty of drama for Dolan to describe, ending with Lindsay Anderson's Glenthorn Avenue bringing home the Mt Perry Cup in 1:22.4 minutes.
The QTIS Maiden Plate over 1000m attracted a field of eight, with Black Chevy earning a suspension and a late scratching for refusing to enter the barrier.
Amy Van Der Sanden rode Monte Cervino to a clear win in 58.7 seconds.
"She travelled great; I didn't even have to pull a stick on her; she ran home really strong."
Me Fast Too shone in the Benchmark 65 Handicap, with owner Edwina Devine and her children giving "whoops" of joy as Jason Missen brought the bay mare home in a close finish.
"We're just wrapt; we've got a winner!" a breathless Devine said.
While Devine said there was no race strategy, Missen's plan was to lead in the race.
"But there was one that was a bit quicker than us, so we took a sit and sat second," Missen said.
"Me Fast Too was too strong in the finish; that was good."
Cheeky Express won by a nose over 1200m in the Class B Handicap and jockey Darren Evans was delighted with his first outing on the chestnut mare.
"I wanted her to take a sit behind the two front-runners, which worked out pretty well," Evans said.
"She had a bit of speed at the start and coming around the turn there was a split there for me, so I've taken that run and dashed in strong."
Owner Bryan Dixon said it was a "good, tough win" for the mare, who was recovering from sickness.
"She's a beautiful little mare and good to do anything with (but) she's still not right - her coat's not right; she's not healthy; she's not 100%," Dixon said.
"Realistically (she) goes more 1000m or 1100m, but while we can get away with the 1200m races in the bush, we'll go for it."
With the first four horses coming in a nose apart, the Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1400m brought more drama.
First-time winner at the Gayndah races, Pagoh came in fifth behind a field led by Lemaitre.
Trainer Malcolm Bailey said it was "a very good ride by the jockey" who kept him further back than expected, but Natalea Summers ran him well coming out of the straight.
Summers said Lemaitre was a "tough old boy" whom she'd ridden to a previous win on sand.
Mt Perry's "hard and fast" grass track meant it was necessary to "go hard really early" and aim to lead.