Meet Dan Fogarty - the new voice of racing
By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
This country's newest commentator Dan Fogarty reckons he's had the racing bug for 15 years.
Nothing unusual about that you might think - except that Fogarty has only just turned 20. Based in Christchurch he is now a Trackside regular calling the dogs as well as selected harness meetings, trials and workouts.
"It was my dream job since I was five."
"It was the 2008 Melbourne Cup and I was five years old and we had a sweepstake at home."
He drew the Bart Cummings-trained winner Viewed.
"It was probably the first horse race I'd ever seen in my life and I remember listening to the commentator Greg Miles and just thinking 'how did he do that?'"
This was Miles' call over the concluding stages.
"Viewed is clear though, 200 metres to go, Bauer ran to second, C'est La Guerre coming home hard. Viewed in front, Bauer's a big danger, Viewed by a neck, Bauer's getting there, Viewed holding on, Bauer dives... Viewed a nose to Bauer, I think!"
It was a defining moment for the young and impressionable Daniel Fogarty.
"And I thought how dull it would be if there was no commentator."
At age six he met Addington's top caller at the time, Mark McNamara and then as a teenager started calling workouts and trials.
"I fell in love with racing, horses like the Monkey Kings and the Auckland Reactors."
From there he's come a long way.
"A year ago I was working at a movie theatre in Christchurch and now I am commentating races on television."
"My first TV call was December at the greyhounds."
His first away trip was to call the Manawatu harness meeting in mid March where he impressed many. Certainly he has a voice and demeanour way beyond his years.
Fogarty sees commentating as the merger of two of his loves - sport and performance.
"I'm addicted to sport, rugby and the NBA, I watch it every day ... and I come from a theatre and drama background."
"At school I started doing theatresports, I love public speaking and that 'being in the moment' and race calling is all about that."
After each meeting comes the analysis - what was good, what was bad?
"I always get the notebook out and it's good if you notice the same mistakes - like getting tongue-tied at the top of the straight or trying to think of a quirky line rather than slowing down and keeping it cool."
And that's where Addington's current caller comes in.
"Matt Cross is a good mentor for me....all the feedback he gives is relative to his own experience in Christchurch, he gives great advice."
While Cross is seen as part of the new wave of commentators he's got nearly a decade on Fogarty, who was born in 2002.
"I think I'm the first born in the 21st century to call a horse race in this country."
"This is an opportunity to reach a younger audience....if I can almost randomly fall in love with the sport why can't others do the same?"
So getting back to the Melbourne Cup of 2008 - does he want to be another Greg Miles?
"His confidence inspires me, how relaxed he was, how calm he is and how you can create excitement without going as loud as you can or going a million miles an hour."
"But I'm not here to be a carbon copy of anyone - I want to be Dan Fogarty"