Good sportsmanship goes a long way

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By Darryn Nufer

IN a week where jockeys featured prominently in the news, first in Queensland for securing a pay rise and then in Victoria for pushing for one themselves, it was the actions of two Rockhampton apprentices which caught my eye.

As reported in this column last week, 20-year-old Elyce Smith won the Rockhampton Jockey Club’s apprentice premiership on a countback of second placegetters after finishing tied on wins at season’s end with 26-year-old Lachlan Dodds (pictured).

Both were in their first season of riding at provincial level and the only jockey to ride more winners in our local premiership than Smith and Dodds was senior maestro Justin Stanley which puts their feats into more perspective.

And while it’s all good and well to let your on-track results do the talking, for young apprentices learning their craft, how you conduct yourself off the racetrack can go a long way to endearing yourself to trainers and owners and determining just how far you get in the sport.

Following this column last Saturday, Smith wrote on Facebook: “It still doesn’t feel real winning the Rockhampton jockey apprentice premiership this season! Thank you to all trainers who supported me this season at home in Rocky and a massive thank you goes to every family member and friend for their love and support throughout the year. And a big congratulations also has to go to Lachie Dodds. You pushed me every week and it was great to have such a close competition.”

Dodds responded to Smith’s post on Facebook with: “Congrats Ellie!! Always love a close finish, we both fought it out to the end. Well done!”

It’s only early days in their respective careers but what a great example of sportsmanship and both Smith and Dodds have certainly got off on the right foot in terms of being good ambassadors for our sport.

Oh wait, while I’m writing this column from the lofty heights of the judge’s box at Callaghan Park during the barrier trials, Smith assists Dodds with a leg-up onto his mount for heat two before making her way over to hers.

Enough said.

Coome back riding trials

Still on jockeys, the question remains how long will seven-time Rockhampton premiership-winning hoop Adrian Coome stay retired after he made a return to riding in an official capacity at yesterday’s barrier trials at Callaghan Park?

Coome announced his retirement in October last year to take up a position at the mines in Central Queensland but has subsequently returned to the racing fold working as foreman for premier trainer Tom Button.

Coome partnered three Button-trained gallopers during yesterday’s trials including promising youngster Gypsy Toff who ran second in a 900m heat in preparation for her three-year-old campaign.

Outback Barbie returns in good order

Tony Gollan’s promising Spirit of Boom filly Outback Barbie, owned by Central Queensland’s Alan and Jennifer Acton, won a trial impressively at Doomben on Tuesday in preparation for her much-anticipated return to the races.

McLellan’s Rocky stint short-lived

Journeyman jockey Darryl “Digger” McLellan won’t be embarking on a stint with the Tom Button stable in Rockhampton after being re-licenced to ride in New South Wales.

Brisbane-based McLellan was set to stay on in Rocky after riding on Newmarket and Cup days, frustrated that Racing NSW had rejected his application to ride in that state which had limited his opportunities in the south-east.

However he was subsequently successful in getting re-licenced to ride south of the border, putting an end to his Rocky plans.

Memories of Ole Snip rekindled

On Monday at Donald in Victoria, nine-year-old gelding Bazaybedeel Mac made his debut at the races in scenes reminiscent of Ole Snip debuting at Callaghan Park earlier this year at the ripe age of 10.

Ole Snip, trained by Vic Heading at Yeppoon, was beaten a combined total of 71.7 lengths in two starts in March and subsequently stewards placed a poor performance suspension on him making it highly unlikely that he’ll return to the races.

Bazaybedeel Mac turned 10 during the week with all race horses having their birthdays on Wednesday, and judging by his last-placed finish on debut (beaten 15.1 lengths) he may also struggle to make sense of the saying “there’s a race for every horse.”

Racing next Thursday

Racing returns to Callaghan Park on Thursday.

PHOTO: Lachlan Dodds celebrates a winning treble at Callaghan Park last season. Photo Matt Harris. 


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