One for the Bush relief applauded – 26 Nov 2019 ARTICLE BY TONY MCMAHON

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FOR A timely fundraising initiative announced yesterday to assist drought relief and titled “1 for the Bush”, Racing Queensland is to be applauded.

Every time a racehorse, pacer or greyhound wearing the Number 1 cloth wins at a Queensland race meeting on this coming weekend, Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1, RQ will donate $1000.

The funds will be directed to the Queensland Country Women’s Association’s Public Rural Crisis Fund.

With possible race splits added, well in excess of 120 races will be held on the weekend comprising 68 TAB and Non-TAB gallops races, 34 greyhound races and 21 harness races.

Furthermore, the first three placegetters in Saturday’s $105K Country Cups Challenge (1600m) at Doomben will be bestowed with $5000, $3000 and $2000 to donate to a rural charity of their choice.

Racing Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said the devastating effects of the drought across Queensland was felt in many regional, rural and remote communities where the racing industry plays an important social fabric role.

Speaking of the Country Cups Challenge, Rockhampton trainer Ricky Vale will start qualifier San Vincenzo while Barcaldine mentor Patrick O’Toole is represented by Hunter Island (Les Tilley).

O’Toole, who trains his horses at Barcaldine racecourse which is one of country Australia’s best grass track surfaces, has an interesting runner at Callaghan Park races in Rockhampton on Friday.

He has widely travelled Marbel Duke (b g 7 Duke Of Marmalade-Tinkerbel) entered for the $17K Open Handicap (1050m).

Marbel Duke commenced his racing career at Muswellbrook, NSW in November 2015 before crossing Bass Strait and racing in the Apple Isle from March 2016 until

February 2017.

His only Tasmanian win from 14 starts was in a Launceston Maiden (1200m) before he moved 4274km north to Darwin.

Trained there by former Thangool jockey Gary Clarke, Marbel Duke acclimatised quickly in the Northern Territory, winning five of his first seven starts and eight overall from 27 runs up there.

Never one to be idle, Clarke floated Marbel Duke the 2283km to the Birdsville races on September 7 this year where he duly won a 1000-metres sprint before moving camp to O’Toole’s at Barcaldine.

At his only run for his new trainer, Marbel Duke displayed his versatility, winning on the lush grass circuit there in a 1000 metres dash.

The 579km and six-plus hours float trip from “Barcy” to Callaghan Park on Friday will be a mere stroll in the park for Marbel Duke while the predicted 32C temperature will be right up his alley.

Friday’s Rockhampton Jockey Club TAB races have attracted 92 entries but in what has become a constant these days, entries have been extended for all races until 9am today.

At yesterday’s Callaghan Park barrier trials, the Jared Wehlow-trained Strawberry Blonde (Matthew Milford) ran the fastest time of the morning winning a 900-metres heat in 55.32 seconds.

The Rockhampton Jockey Club is calling for entries for the inaugural Callaghan Park running of the “Dashi Dash” during the TAB meeting there on Tuesday, December 17.

The race meeting is annually promoted as a Fun Day and the novelty qualifying heats and final of the race which will offer attractive and appropriate prizes, have received widespread support.

Annually, the Middlemount Race Club has conducted dachshund races, which are popularly supported, but this will be a first for the RJC.

Entry forms for the novelty event are available on the Callaghan Park website, so get to it dachshund owners.

The club is reminding seafood lovers of its Christmas Party at the Park Luncheon during the race meeting on Saturday, December 7 where “unlimited prawns” will be on the menu.


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