This time last year, Canadian broadcaster Dawn Lupul was en route to Perth, where on the eve of International Women’s Day, she became the first female to call a race at Western Australia’s premier thoroughbred racing venue, Ascot.
Women have shattered Australian thoroughbred racing’s glass ceiling on the track – for example, Paula Wagg led the way in Western Australia, and the likes of Alana Williams, Kyra Yuill and Lucy Warwick have followed with great success in the training and/or riding ranks – but the commentary booth has remained the almost exclusive domain of men. I wanted Perth Racing to celebrate the increasingly significant role that women play in one of Australia’s most popular sports, so I scoured the world to find a female caller willing to travel to Perth to not only call the International Women’s Day Maiden but also host the on- and off-course telecast.
Lupul was no stranger to Australian audiences because she called standardbred races at Woodbine in Toronto that Sky Racing and other channels pumped into Australia. And Lupul, who is best known in her homeland for her description of an event won by unfortunately named trotter Domedomedome that went viral, handled her overseas challenges with aplomb, confidently calling International Women’s Day Maiden-winning combination Knot Known and Chloe Azzopardi over the line.
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