Opinion: Geraldton race legend Ron O’Malley inspires grandson James Gardiner to answer calling

James GardinerGeraldton Guardian
Off and racing. Budding racecaller James Gardiner calls out his grandfather and Geraldton legend Ron O’Malley.
Camera IconOff and racing. Budding racecaller James Gardiner calls out his grandfather and Geraldton legend Ron O’Malley. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

When you are Ron O’Malley’s grandson, there is a 99 per cent chance you would be a huge racing fan.

And I am.

For as long as I can remember, I have been going to the races and this developed a love for the sport.

When I was younger, I would play on the lawn in the members’ area near the mounting yard, commentating my own horse races.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


I would run while calling the names of Pop’s horses, whipping hard like a proper jockey would.

Once the horses would come out into the enclosure, I would choose the horse I thought would win — based on the jockey’s silk colours — and watch the race urging it on.

When I got older, Pop would take me, and he still does, over to see a horse and listen to the tactics spoken by the trainer to the jockey.

I loved every second of getting to meet the jockey because they were always so nice and it was great to get a snapshot into how many tactics were discussed just for one race.

A few years ago I was invited into the commentary box to watch a race and meet one of my favourite race callers, Darren McAullay.

It was amazing watching him going over the colours one last time and commentating with such ease — even though there were around 10 horses in a quickly run race.

Getting this experience helped me to further my dream to become a commentator.

Horse racing has been, and will continue to be, a sport I follow closely — whether it is here in Geraldton or over at Royal Ascot in the United Kingdom.

Budding racecaller James Gardiner.
Camera IconBudding racecaller James Gardiner.


Ron O’Malley is a successful racehorse owner, his latest horse Jericho Missile winning at its first start at Ascot on December 1.

On the same day, he celebrated the 50th birthday of Drennan O’Malley Motors, having launched the car company with close mate, the late Maurie Drennan, on December 1, 1968.

Mr O’Malley is also the oldest surviving J.J. Clune Medallist, winning the league medal in 1962.

He then met, and married Imelda, the daughter of (Jeremiah James) Clune, who the medal is named after and who in 1961 was the first president of the GNFL.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails