Jack Milner: Race caller Alistair Cohen will have the world at his fingertips as he embarks on the next step in his career in Dubai.
Cohen has been appointed the English commentator for Meydan and Jebel Ali Racecourses in Dubai for at least the next six months.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for me,” said Cohen. “It will give me international exposure calling the Dubai Carnival, and in particular Super Saturday and the Dubai World Cup meeting.
“Those racedays attract the interest of fans all over the world.”
Cohen called his final meeting at Turffontein yesterday and will be flying out to Dubai on 12 October. “The first meeting of the season is at Jebel Ali on Friday 29 October but they want me there a couple of weeks ahead of that so I can get to know the courses and meet the people.”
The 30-year-old has had a passion for horseracing since a youngster in Durban when his family lived in a building across the road from Greyville Racecourse. But his particular penchant was for commentating, so when a position opened up in Phumelela Publishing in 2010, he grabbed the position, hoping it would open the race-calling door for him.
Working out of Turffontein Racecourse, he did sets of selections and wrote stories about numerous race meetings but one eye was always on the microphone in the commentary box at the top of the grandstand.
First palmed off to him was the mundane job no other commentator wanted – to get packed into a bus early every Monday morning with the jockeys and officials, in order to call at Flamingo Park in Kimberley.
But even that could not deter him.
And as is the case with racehorses, you cannot argue with class, and it was just a matter of time before Cohen would become the “main man” on the Highveld.
Now he joins the ranks of people like Trevor Denman who used his skills in the US to become one of the world’s leading race callers.
“I know it’s seasonal at this stage but I’m hoping to make an impact, so the job lasts more than just one season. I am also aware of contacts this job could open for me.”
Discussing what he believes he can offer the Emirates Racing Authority, Cohen added: “Honesty, professionalism, accuracy and the best story telling. That’s what I’ve got.
“I’m looking forward to calling the great horses around the world that will be descending on Dubai, and the calling of something different.”
And most importantly, he can add to the value of having another South African export on the world horseracing stage.