From the Callers Box October

What’s the old saying – ‘all good things must come to an end’.

Rightly or wrongly.

It’s part of life.

And life must go on.

But I’m certain this news will be met with mixed emotions as the ‘famed’ Ross family are set to depart the industry at the end of the month.

For those unaware, the Ross family have been our official Clerks of the Course (Red Coats) at tracks throughout south-east Queensland since 1986 when taking over from Gordon Bishop.

Don Ross Snr has led the way with utmost professionalism since taking over as the ‘helping hand’ of the racetrack and ensuring safety is paramount for horse and driver.

His reputation as a horseman knows no bounds and many still recall and marvel at his heroics that have been on display for decades.

In fact, it would be almost impossible to walk across any harness track in Queensland without any licensee detailing the skill of the natural horseman.

Many will have fond memories of Ross Snr leading back 1993 Inter Dominion champion Jack Morris to scale while looking resplendent in his red coat aboard his white pony.

Ross Snr, 89, is a man of many talents when it comes to working with our equine friends.

He has been supplying horses for theatre, shows, promotions, films, and special events for decades while carrying out his role as the Clerk of the Course for over 40 years.

The Ross family also supplied horses, carriages and wagons for promotional work.

Over the years, the Ross Show has appeared in productions such as The Man from Snowy River and the Ben Hur Arena Spectacular while performing at many shows including the EKKA and Sydney Royal Easter Show among others.

And everyone would remember when they conducted German wagon racing and chuck wagon racing plus performing at venues like Albion Park, Harold Park and even the Canberra Summer Nationals while sporting splendid Roman centurion costumes.

Ross Snr, underwent a quadruple bypass close to 20 years ago while battling other medical conditions in recent times is still as active as ever, regularly still carrying out his role as Clerk of the Course.

The Ross ‘crew’ is made up of Don’s son, Donny (56) and grandson Donald (29), granddaughter Stephanie (25) plus Dexter McLean (76).

And yes, it was McLean who got a rather fervid reaction from champion pacer Shakamaker during the 2001 Inter Dominion series at Albion Park.

But their body of work is exemplary, and their ponies are equally outstanding.

Ross Snr was honoured in 2009 by the Royal National Association when he was named A Legend of the Brisbane Royal Show.

Naturally, Ross Snr is an inductee in the Queensland Harness Hall of Fame.

So, whoever takes on the role has big shoes to fill because the bar has been set very high.

On behalf of the entire harness industry, join me in saying “Thanks” for your incredible work.

And all the very best with your future endeavours.


Until next time.