Five Questions With... Ray Thomas
July 27, 2021
He’s the racing editor at News Limited and a presenter at Sky Radio, so it’s safe to say that Ray Thomas knows a thing or two about racing. You may be surprised to hear that Ray’s career began in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) but after nine years of service, Ray followed his passion for racing and picked up a part time job as racing journalist for a Melbourne newspaper.
1: What is your earliest or favourite memory of horse racing?
Secretariat winning the 1973 Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. I watched it with my father as a young boy and it got me hooked on horse racing, I couldn’t believe a horse could be so dominant
The Belmont Stakes is an American grade one stakes race for three-year-olds and is the third and final leg of the American Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes). In 1973 Secretariat won the Belmont Stake and established the world record for the mile and half (2.24). This win also made him the ninth Triple Crown winner.
2: If you could meet any horse or racing personality dead or alive, who would it be?
Tommy Woodcock to try to find the truth behind the legendary Phar Lap’s death.
Tommy Woodcock was an Australian horse trainer, but before he started training, he was Phar Lap’s full-time strapper.
3: If you had one tip about attending the races, what would it be?
Only bet what you can afford.
4: What is the favourite thing about your career?
Getting in the car on a Saturday morning and going to the races. After three decades I still find it an honour and privilege to cover the sport and get front row access to the human and equine stars of racing.
5: And… rather importantly, what is the best tip you have ever received?
Had a cup of coffee with Mick Dittman in the old Flemington coffee shop after trackwork. I asked which horse he’d like to ride in the Cup. He simply said: “Saintly – Bart has done it again.’’ Saintly had just worked brilliantly a few minutes earlier and I copped the tip.
…And as an extra bonus question, if you were a racehorse, what would you be called?
Crispy – not after the great Australian Steeplechaser but it was my nickname in the Air Force because I always used too much starch on my uniform!
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