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    Daniel’s found his ‘calling’ . . . and it’s ‘Missen accomplished’ Daniel’s found his ‘calling’ . . . and it’s ‘Missen accomplished’

    FOUND HIS CALLING: Daniel Missen

    HE may be a Tamworth ‘local’ but Daniel Missen’s dulcet tones can be heard across the state . . . and much further afield.... Daniel’s found his ‘calling’ . . . and it’s ‘Missen accomplished’

    HE may be a Tamworth ‘local’ but Daniel Missen’s dulcet tones can be heard across the state . . . and much further afield.

    From a young age the Peel High School alumni knew where he wanted to go in his working career and he has taken every opportunity that has opened up to him on that sweet journey of life.

    “I enjoyed Peel High School – and also working in the canteen at morning tea and lunchtime,” he told National Trotguide.

    “At the end of the day they would pay me $8.80 – just enough to buy a pie and a milkshake.

    “Everyone at school knew that I was going to be a race announcer or work in radio.”

    Daniel Missen set his mind to it and now enjoys the pleasure of working in both areas, firstly with FM88.9 in Tamworth and Sky Channel out of Sydney.

    “The radio announcing came along and that helped brush up my skills,” he said.

    “After I left school, I worked as an apprentice chef for two years plus calling the races and working on the radio.

    “Then I made the decision to leave being a chef and went to work on the radio at 88.9.”

    Dan Missen has the horse industry in his blood and it’s a little-known fact that he once graced the trotting track as a youngster in the mini trots with success in handling the reins behind his pony.

    “I didn’t like it to start with,” said Missen.

    “Dad wanted me to be jockey when I was younger but I was way too tall.

    “The mini trots were fun; I had 90 wins with my little mare Snowy (My First Star).

    “I enjoyed it but I never wanted to step up to the bigger horses.”

    Daniel Missen is the son of well-known Tamworth harness trainer and gallops enthusiast Tony Missen and wife Joy, who holds her reinswoman licence in harness racing and also has had success in greyhound training.

    “My dad was a jockey and then got into harness racing so I have always been involved in harness racing,” said Missen.

    “I think I was only a couple of days old when I attended my first harness meeting.

    “I think from the age of five or six I began getting into racing in general.

    “Mum had a couple of greyhounds and I went along to watch the dogs race and I looked up to the racecaller and I thought I really want to give that a go – I really want to do that,” said Missen.

    “By the age of seven I was convinced and I just wanted to be a racecaller.

    “I got my first opportunity through well-known Tamworth racecaller Bob Poetschka; he gave me a go when I was about 10.

    “They wanted a race caller at the Tamworth greyhounds and I thought “bloody oath, let’s do it.”

    Daniel Missen’s career was off and running.

    “I called at the Tamworth, Coonabarabran and Armidale greyhounds so every weekend from there on I just practiced calling the greyhounds,” he said.

    It was not long before Missen progressed to the world of harness racing – albeit at the age of 13.

    “I did a couple of non-tab meetings and my first chance was at an Inverell harness meeting when Greg Kachel was away and then I began calling the trials at Tamworth of a Tuesday night,” he said.

    “I had the ambition to work for Sky Channel by the time I was 25 – well, I am 25 now and working for Sky Channel so it all came together really well.

    “I am working four or five days a week with Sky Channel on different jobs.

    “Recently I called the The Gardens (greyhounds) at Newcastle on the Friday and Saturday nights then travelled home to Tamworth and then out to call the Narrabri harness meeting on the Sunday.

    “Then it was back to the French’s Forest studio (headquarters) to call greyhounds and races at Mount Gambier and Broken Hill.

    “You can add in a Gunnedah greyhound meeting and calling the barrier trials at the Scone gallops.”

    Newcastle greyhounds on the Saturday night and then Narrabri calling the trots would seem like an impossible task for some – but not for Daniel Missen.

    “I arrived home at 2.30 in the morning and then hitched a ride out with Dad as he had a runner at the Narrabri meeting, so it worked out well,” he said.

    “I’m really enjoying it.

    “I think Mum and Dad are proud of me – they always knew that I wanted to be a racecaller; it was just a case of getting my foot in the door and taking off.

    “I have been lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

    “When Greg Kachel retired that opened up a position for me in the north-west.

    “Harness racing is my favourite; I know the people and I know the race colours. I have been around them since I was a child.”

    So who does Daniel Missen aspire to be like?

    “I aspire to be like Terry Spargo in Queensland – he has called some of the biggest races in the world like the Dubai Cup.

    “I have always looked up to Terry along with listening to other callers – you hear a splash of everyone coming out in my calls.

    “I would rather be the voice you hear then the face that you see.”

    It is established that race calling is for Daniel Missen and he takes his craft seriously – even scrutinising his own calls.

    “When you call the wrong horse name in a race you lose sleep over it, you really do,” he said.

    “You go home and think ‘why did I do that?’

    “Photo finishes are the hardest thing – sometimes you are so sure that a horse has won and then you look at the photo finish and think ‘why did I call that one?’

    “If it is a really close finish, I stay right out of it. I have learned my lesson too many times.”

    Away from the racecalling Missen has also learned to handle the technology side of operations.

    “I was very lucky to get a start in Sky Sports Radio and have done a couple of shifts there in the studio at Frenchs Forest,” he said.

    “I had the radio experience and the boss watched me a couple of shifts over Christmas and he was happy for me to have a go and now I have done a couple of weekend shifts.

    “I really enjoy being in the studio co ordinating – on air presenter – if that came up as full-time position, I would consider doing that as well.”

    There is no down-time for Daniel Missen – and that’s the way he likes it!

    “I am constantly working at the moment – I am still in the career mode – I have got plenty of time to settle down,” he said.

    “I am only home a couple of nights a week . . . and I love it.

    “If there was an opportunity to move to a region that is fine – I am open to anything .

    “I know what I want to do and I hope I can continue to do it from where I want to be.”

    Missen is the consummate professional when he calls horses trained by his father Tony at the Paceway and most recently calling his mother Joy as a reinswoman.

    “Good on her and it is good to see,” said Missen of his mother deciding to take out her licence: “it is a real racing family now”.

    And how does Missen feel when he is calling his family?

    “I feel a bit nervous but I just treat it like any other race.

    “Dad got a winner at the Narrabri meeting that I called and it was just like calling another winner – I don’t want to show a conflict of interest.”

    And while the passion is there every day is a winner for Daniel Missen.

    “I think because I love what I’m doing, it is easy,” said Missen.

      – JULIE MAUGHAN

     

    Tony Missen with his winner at Narrabri in Gotonebettor and Daniel Missen.
    PHOTOS: Julie Maughan.

     

     

    National Trotguide

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