As the undisputed voice of the race that stops a nation, Greg Miles called a record 36 Melbourne Cups before hanging up his microphone in April. Here he shares his favourite memories.
2005 \ Makybe Diva
The win was her third straight and that had never been done before. It captured the imagination of the wider audience, not just racing or sports fans. She transcended racing. My lasting memory is when she returned to scale and all the other horses had left the track. Glen Boss dropped the reins and pointed to her and she stood and looked into the crowd. It was like, ‘I know I am good, look what I have done’.
2002 \ Media Puzzle
Damien Oliver lost his brother, Jason, the week beforehand in a riding accident and the emotion after the race was unbelievable. Damien came back to scale to a standing ovation and you could see men and women crying. The outpouring of emotion for him was like nothing I had witnessed before. I found it most difficult to speak; to do the things you have to do post-race because you know these guys, they are friends.
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1993 \ Vintage Crop
This was the race that changed the Melbourne Cup forever. Vintage Crop was the first truly international winner that came out from Ireland to contest the race and then went home. It made them think in the Northern Hemisphere that it’s doable. Had he got beaten badly, it might not have blossomed into what it is today. The Victoria Racing Club wanted to make it a truly international race and it succeeded.
1989 \ Tawrrific
This was my eighth cup, but the first time I called it on the public address. ’Til then I had called it for radio only, but in 1989 I took over calling on-course, which is more nerve-wracking because you have an audience right there in front of you. I was in a new broadcast box and suddenly these two ladies in large hats appeared on the balcony to my right. I had to swat them with my race book and they scurried back, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen the runners for about 200 metres. It was my own private mid-race anguish.
2015 \ Prince of Penzance
Michelle Payne broke the glass ceiling in the Melbourne Cup and that was always going to be a big moment. But to do it on a 100-to-1 chance! I just felt really happy for her, not because she was the first female, but because she is a darned hard-working jock.
2016 \ Almandin
From a personal perspective it was the most difficult I have ever called because there were so many similar colours in the field. More than half the field was blue, predominantly royal blue and navy blue. It was a really difficult call and while not many people knew, I knew it was going to be my last Cup and I wanted to go out with a good call. So it was personally satisfying, that one.
● Greg Miles can be heard on radio RSN on Saturdays, 7-9am.