The list of New South Wales racecallers is the poorer following Thursday’s passing of one of the most popular broadcasters in the state, Bob Foran.
Bob Foran, 80, passed away at his Gilgandra home following a decade-long battle with illness.
Bob was dubbed the ‘Legend of Gilgandra’ and during his illness he would regularly be stopped on the racecourse by every second person inquiring into his health.
In 2015, Bob received a ‘Special Recognition Award’ during the Racing NSW Country and Provincial Awards night for his amazing accomplishment of calling his 60th Gilgandra Cup.
“He was a very decent man and was a great racecaller,” fellow racecaller and close friend, Col Hodges, told Racing NSW.
“As he had been a horse trainer at one stage, just like his father, he was a great judge and knew how a horse was travelling during a race. Bob also possessed one of those ‘easy to listen to’ voices.
“Whatever trade you’re in, the best judges of a person are your peers and in that regard, Bob was highly respected within the entire racing industry.”
Bob called his first race on the radio when he was aged just 13 and since then, apart from calling races, he trained gallopers including Border Ghost who won more than 50 races in the bush.
Bob also worked at Gilgandra Council.
Bob once said: “I've called races from Lightning Ridge, Tamworth, Bathurst, Cowra, Cobar and everywhere in between; calling races is something special to me and it’s where my heart is.”
Countless stories about Foran have been recalled and shared in the day’s following his passing, Hodges one of those who spent much time with the popular racecaller.
“I remember when Bob was going to call his 50th Gilgandra Cup,” Hodges remarked.
“I asked a heap of other well-known racecallers including John Tapp and Ian Craig for a short tribute for the racebook that day.
“We also pitched in a few dollars to sponsor a race and called it the ‘Bob Foran’s 50th call of the Gilgandra Cup’. Bob didn’t know anything about it and he was very proud when he first set eyes on the racebook.
“Bob was loved in Gilgandra and they even named a stand after him. He was still calling non-TAB meetings up until recently and called at Mendooran and Collarenebri. Many of us will miss him terribly.”
While he was most well known in racing circles, Bob Foran was also an excellent sportsman having represented the Country Firsts side in cricket in 1961.
Bob leaves behind his wife Shirley, son Paul, and daughters Bobbi and Peta.
A funeral service for Bob Foran will be held at Gilgandra Racecourse at 11am on Thursday, June 14, followed by interment at the Gilgandra Cemetery.
Friends and family are invited back to Gilgandra Golf Club for refreshments with the Foran family.