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Showdown time for female race callers.

Byline: Cyrus Dailami

HAYLEY MOORE and Rachel Casey square up in the final of the search to find Britain's first female commentator at Ascot today, with both nervous but excited about calling the first four races between them.

Amateur rider Moore, who assists father Gary and whose brother is threetime champion jockey Ryan, has already struck at Ascot this weekend, winning the opening race yesterday.

She is 8-11 favourite with Stan James, with Casey at evens - although Casey's employer, Ladbrokes, quote opposite prices.

Moore said: "Commentating is much more of a challenge than race-riding, so this task is much more daunting than riding in the ladies' race.

"I've been practising at other racecourses and had training days with Richard Hoiles, Mike Cattermole and Simon Holt, and had good advice from Stewart Machin and John Hunt.

"The main thing for me is seeing the colours when I get to the track, because they never look quite the same as they do in the paper or on the internet. That and going through the form."

She added: "I'm doing two races, one over six furlongs and the other over a mile and two furlongs. We've each got one on the straight track and one on the round course, so it should be fair."

Casey said: "I'm very nervous but desperately excited. I just want to do a really good call for racegoers.

I've been practising a lot, doing a couple of calls at Sandown in the second commentary box there. "Everyone has been so supportive along the way. I've had lots of help from all the commentators, and John Hunt, Mike Cattermole and Simon Holt have been so helpful. It's nice hearing all their different styles and learning the tricks of the trade."

Moore and Casey have beaten 44 rivals to reach this stage and Casey will be first up on the mike, commentating on an eight-runner maiden. Neither has a field bigger than ten to contend with.

Casey said: "The first race will be hard, as none of them have raced before, so it's impossible to know where the pace will come from and who will be held up, but at least it's a small field."

Casey added: "I don't mind about losing as long as I give a good call and the people enjoy their day out. That's the main thing."

The winner of today's final receives a pounds 2,500 cash prize plus a place on the industry's prestigious commentary training course. There is no guarantee that will lead to being on the commentators' roster, Moore stressed yesterday.

The winner will be decided by text vote. Text FILLY followed by either RACHEL or HAYLEY to 60777 between 3pm and 4.30pm today. Texts sent outside this time will be charged but will not count. The winner will be announced on At The Races after the fifth race at Ascot.

CAPTION(S):

Hayley Moore after winning on Captain Ramius at Ascot yesterday Rachel Casey: "desperately excited"
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 24, 2011
Words:496
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