Miles recognised on Legends Day

11 December 2021 Written by Ben Sporle

Greg Miles' voice was synonymous with Flemington for more than three decades, so it is only fitting on Saturday that the opening race on VRC Legends Race Day recognises Miles, who called a record-breaking 36 Melbourne Cups.

Having broadcasted his final Lexus Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2016 and then retired on Easter Saturday the following year at Caulfield, Miles said it had been taken a while to adjust to life without the microphone and binoculars.

"It's gone very quickly, but it's taken me a long while to get used to the idea that I'm not calling," he admits.

"I was quite toey for the first few years but maybe COVID helped not being able to be there during the carnival, it might have been a circuit breaker in a way.

"I felt guilty, I felt like I should have been there calling and it felt almost like wagging school.

"To be honest, I still wake up in cold sweats having nightmares I was caught down in the betting ring when they jumped in a race, or I got into the box and didn't know any of the colours.

"It still happens now, it's crazy.

"But I'm quite happy now sitting in the stands watching them go to the start without the butterflies in my tummy, someone else can do that."

While he may no longer be climbing the steps to the broadcast box each week, it doesn't mean he has taken his eye off the ball nor lost his passion for the game.

"I went to all four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which was really the first time we were allowed back on track, so I was very fortunate to do that as a life member," he said.

"I went to the Jericho Cup recently, so I'm starting to get back like everyone.

"I don't go to the races every week, I used to go three or four times a week, but I don't need to be doing that anymore.

"I still follow them very, very closely, I am sitting here doing the form for Flemington tomorrow and I still do the form for every city meeting and most the country meetings as well, just as a form of entertainment."

Miles also keeps an interest in racehorse ownership with shares in three horses, including two with Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock, and recently owned a winner when the Lenny Xuereb-trained Smokin' Toff triumphed on debut at Mornington.

While the legendary broadcaster still keeps a close eye on happenings at the track, the Williamstown resident has always shared a love of the water, but even he'd seen enough of it earlier this year when COVID stranded he and wife Alison on the coast of New South Wales.

"I was relocating the boat on ANZAC Day and taking it up to the Gold Coast to leave it up there as a bit of a holiday house," Miles explained.

"We were just taking our time up the coast and got caught in Port Stephens, so we got a fair way more than three quarters, but COVID reached and it was considered an extreme risk zone, so they closed the border to Queensland.

"We couldn't go further north, so we thought we will leave the boat here and fly home, but we were refused permission to fly home, so we were stuck in the same spot for three months.

"Port Stephens is a lovely spot to be stuck but when the pubs and restaurants are all closed and the five-kilometre rule, it doesn't matter where you are, it's still boring."

Being stuck on the water would have given Miles plenty of time to tune in to his successor Matt Hill, who he said needs no advice from him.

"He's flying and doing a great job," Miles said.

"Naturally, I think about him and what's going through his head and what colours might be a cause for concern, I still look at it as a caller.

"In normal circumstances, I would have popped my head in and said hello during Cup Week, but because of the zones, I didn't do that this year, but he's a relaxed customer that you can knock on his door and it doesn't seem to faze him but we had lunch on Monday after the Melbourne Cup Carnival."

Not only renowned for his dulcet tones but a renowned form student, it would be rude not to ask for a tip in the Greg Miles Trophy.

"I must admit it was a bit of a surprise, it's very humbling and nice of them to do so," he said.

"It's not the easiest with two-year-olds but if I had to tip one I thought Kumicho was a pretty good run behind Ebhaar and I think it's favourite for the Bue Diamond at the moment, so I thought it might be the improver."