Search to find Britain's first ever female race commentator

PUBLISHED: 15:29 06 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:19 20 February 2013

Search to find Britain's first ever female race commentator

Search to find Britain's first ever female race commentator

Bath Racecourse has been chosen to help find Britain's first ever female race commentator. The racecourse will host the first semi-final in the nationwide competition at their race meeting on Saturday 11th June

Bath Racecourse has been chosen to help find Britains first ever female race commentator. The racecourse, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, will host the first semi-final in the nationwide competition at their race meeting on Saturday 11th June.

The Voice of Racing was, for many years, the evocative tones of either Raymond Glendenning (pictured) or the legendary Sir Peter OSullevan, but in this male-dominated sport, its all about to change with the search for Britains first ever female race commentator.

Whether youre at the track, watching on the telly or in the bookies, its a racing certainty that the action is being described by a male voice. But, according to, the search organisers, theres no earthly reason why races cant be called by a woman.

This summer, will be conducting a nationwide search to find a female race caller, with the winner commentating at Britains premier racecourse, Ascot, on 24 July, receiving a 2,500 cash prize and getting a place on a racing industry commentary training course.

Rod Street, spokesperson for, said: Horseracing is one of the few sports that connects with women and were seeing increasing numbers of female trainers and jockeys competing at the top of the profession, so why not from the top of the Grandstand in the commentators box?

Although a female commentator will be new to horseracing, football gets the accolade for introducing the first female British sports commentator when Jacqui Oatley covered a Match of the Day game for the BBC on 21 April 2007.

The skills of commentating are something that people acquire over years of practice, but aims to fast-track its semi-finalists, wholl have to prove themselves in live heats during racing at Bath and Doncaster Racecourses earlier in the summer.

General Manager at Bath Racecourse, Holly Glover said: As a woman working in sport Im really proud to be a part of this competition. Horseracing is one of the only sports where women can compete with men at the top level and the fact that it will be championing a national push to open up other careers in sport to women is fantastic. The semi-final at Bath will be another great moment in our 200th anniversary year and help to project the city onto the national stage.

Anyone who reckons they could be the new Voice of Racing can get the chance to practice online at in their Commentary Karaoke section. Those that feel theyve mastered the challenge can then record their entry for the competition and download it for the judges to evaluate.

The website also lists some simple advice that might make the difference between a star performance and complete silence:

In the age of television, its vital to mention the colours of the silks and racing gear, such as blinkers, wherever possible to help viewers identify their horse in running.

Racegoers need to know how far the race has gone and how much further to the finish, so furlong markers are all important.

Its vital to capture the excitement of the race, creating a crescendo close to the finish but without peaking too soon.

Homework is important, so know about the runners, riders, trainers and betting. This is particularly valuable when there are only a few runners.

During the race, its important to convey how the horses are moving and where they are in the field in relation to the others.

Clarity of deliver is essential. Phrasing, pace and tone are also high on the list of essentials.

Pronounce the names correctly so viewers know which one is theirs. The occasional rogue racehorse name has slipped through the system which could spell disaster. Hoof Hearted and Noble Locks are good examples.

But rest assured, if it all goes pear-shaped then it wont be the first time that the wrong horse has been called the winner or, for that matter, a commentator has made a sporting gaff that reduces the audience to tears of laughter. Here are a few to avoid:

Horseracing commentator: This is really a lovely horse. I once mounted her mother.

Football commentator: Julian Dicks is everywhere. Its like theyve got eleven Dicks on the field.

Tennis commentator: One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them.

Motor racing commentator: This car is absolutely unique except for the one following it, which is identical.

Athletics commentator: Paula has a quick look between her legs and likes what she sees.

Weightlifting commentator: This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning during her warm up and it was amazing.

Basketball commentator: He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesnt like it. In fact you can see it all over their faces.

Cricket commentator: The bowlers Holding, the batsmans Willey.

Snooker commentator: Stephen Hendry jumps on Steve Daviss misses every chance he gets.

For further information please contact:

Aimee Bennett, Marketing Executive at Bath Racecourse on 01225 424609

Hannah Grissell, PR Executive, Racing for Change
0207 152 0195

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