In an era where the term legend is bandied about at will, a legend of the country horse racing scene reached a significant and more than likely unmatched milestone recently.
Col Hodges, who began doing phantom race calls at school as a nine-year old, is celebrating his 50th year as a race caller and 50 years since he called his first Bedgerabong Picnic Race Club Cup. The spritely 71 year old shows no signs of slowing down.
“When I attended my first race meeting at 14 at Bedgerabong Picnic Races – 57 years ago, seeing the horses galloping down the straight was one of the most exciting things I had ever seen,” said Col.
“I’m an animal lover first and have called trots longer than horse racing as well as greyhounds in my time but my first horse race was Gooloogong Gallops in October 1970 – one race won by Minibill.”
“Easter 1971 I called my first race meeting.”
Bedgerabong and Forbes remain close to his heart and he has called for over 40 race clubs and does over 100 race meetings a year.
“From Bathurst to Broken Hill and Cowra to Coonamble,” said Col.
While at this stage he’s not thinking about retirement Col says that when he starts to slip that’s when he will “pull the pin.”
“I admire the people involved in this industry, they are great people and animal lovers and gives me more pleasure than calling any race.”
Until this legend of the track draws a close on his illustrious career, I for one can’t wait to see Col up there in the tower named in his honour in 2022. Binoculars in hand, form guide blocking the February sun and the horses bursting out of the barriers like hounds from hell. Must be Bedgerabong…