We are delighted to present an Interview with Irish racing commentaor Jerry Hannon. Jerry is from Listowel and we talk all things from the early days, Lockdown & the BEST horse Jerry has ever seen!
When you were younger, did you have an interest in Racing & how did it start?
I had only a passing interest in racing really. Growing up in Listowel the Harvest Festival came round every September.
Can you tell us your first memory of racing?
Listowel, again. I recall my late Dad Joe, setting up a photo with Charlie Swan at the ’91 meeting. I was 10 at the time!
Did you want to be a racing commentator or was their another career path prior to racing?
Carpentry (my Dad’s trade) was not my thing so I wanted to be a racing photographer!
How did the commentating job come around?
Via party pieces (Foinavon ’67) in local pubs and clubs!
Can you remember your first race to commentate on & How did you feel?
It was at Athea Pony Races 17th October ’99 & I felt as awkward as a bag of hammers!
Did you take advice from anyone regarding horse names, so not to make a mispronunciation error?
Self advice. Mispronunciation. It’s a pet hate of mine!
What horse name has caused you the most trouble?
Flatfoot Boogie owned and trained by Noel Glynn (see Cork 5th August ’13!).
How do you describe your commentating style and did you look up to any other commentators styles?
Simplistic and traditional. Sir Peter O’Sullevan titled his book Calling the Horses.
How has commentating changed since your debut until now?
Colour racecards and high definition monitor pictures.
What has been your favourite race to call?
Roaring Bull in the Paddy Power supposedly!
What was your thoughts on the robotic commentary of the Roaring Bull race?
@TracksideJay’s adaptation of the race got my like on Twitter!
Having called many races, what has been the best race you have EVER seen?
The spectacle of Enable v Crystal Ocean in last years King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes was memorable.
And, What has been the best HORSE you have ever seen?
Pinatubo defined accelerate in the 2019 National Stakes at The Curragh.
How have you been spending your time during the lockdown?
I have been catching up on a stack of ol’ books, recharging my batteries in advance of a return to racing and a spot of Spring cleaning!
What will the first thing you do when restrictions are relaxed?
Oh, I will be straight home to Listowel to see my Mam and fam!
Finally, Can you give our readers a horse or two to follow that has caught your eye while in the commentary box?
Sceptical trained by Denis Hogan looks a classy individual. Denis also had that good sprinter Make A Challenge last season
We would like to thank Jerry for his time & wish him all the best going forward. We all cannot wait for racing to return, in the mean time STAY SAFE.
Interview by Rich Williams
Photos – Jerry Hannon,Sir Peter O’Sullevan(Betfair), Roaring Bull by Fran Altoft & Pinatubo(Racing Post)