Conca Del Sogno could bypass Rocky Carnival

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By Darryn Nufer

Naturally it’s hard to know this far out just how strong the Rockhampton Winter Carnival feature races will be this year, but I reckon trainer Tim Cook provided some guide ahead of his stable star’s return today.

Talented but injury-plagued galloper Conca Del Sogno (pictured) resumes in today’s $30,000 Rocky Amateurs Bracelet (1200m) and while it would seem an ideal kick-off point for a Rocky Newmarket campaign, Cook is considering by-passing that option.

When I spoke to him at the races last weekend, Cook said the strength of the southern raiders headed our way for the carnival could see him target the features further north with Conca Del Sogno, who made a name for himself winning seven straight races in Capricornia in 2016/17.

The trainer was always plotting that course with another of his gallopers, I Can I Will I Am, who also returns to the races today in the Rocky Amateurs Cup (1600m), but his admission with the horse affectionately known as “Congo” might surprise some.

Cook has a close association with leading Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan, and while he didn’t give anything away, he would have the inside running on the talent Gollan is planning to send to the Rockhampton Carnival.

“I think you’ll see some good horses here (for carnival) this year,” Cook said.

This year the Rocky Cup (1600m) on Saturday, July 6, jumps to a $150,000 race – up from a $100,000 feature previously – and the Newmarket (1300m) again carries a purse of $100k.

The boost in prize money for the Cup is sure to lure more southern raiders for the 2019 renewal.

Win, lose or dead-heat in today’s Rocky Amateurs Bracelet, expect Gracemere trainer Jim O’Shea’s duo Spring Creek and Barachiel to take on the visitors in this year’s Rocky Cup and Newmarket respectively.

Interesting situation with race prize money

We have an interesting situation today whereby the support races to the Rocky Amateurs Cup and Bracelet carry prize money of $16,500.

Yet at Mackay on Tuesday all seven races are worth a minimum of $19,000.

I totally understand the “Showcase meetings” ($19k races) are spread around so that everyone gets a crack at them but surely the timing here detracts from today’s annual Rocky Amateurs card.

Yeppoon, Emerald pick up TAB meetings

During the week Racing Queensland announced it would provide TAB opportunities to a further seven regional thoroughbred clubs including Yeppoon and Emerald.

The non-TAB meetings to run as TAB meetings throughout 2019/20 include the Tuesday, July 23 meeting at Yeppoon this year and the Tuesday, March 10 meeting at Emerald next year.

Other regional clubs to pick up TAB meetings are Mount Isa, Warwick, Birdsville, Longreach, Dalby, Innisfail and Barcaldine.

“By providing non-TAB clubs with TAB opportunities we are able to deliver increased prize money for participants, greater wagering returns back to the industry and can broadcast our regional clubs to national and international TV audiences,” Racing Queensland’s deputy chairwoman Sharon Dawson said.

CQ owners chase Doomben 10,000 glory

Today Central Queensland owners have a significant interest in the $800,000 Doomben 10,000 (1200m).

Alan and Jennifer Acton have their three-year-old filly Outback Barbie contesting the Group 1 race while Bill Ouston shares in the ownership of Havasay.

Racing back at headquarters

After today’s meeting, racing returns to Callaghan Park on Tuesday, May 21.


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