The barrier draw this morning WEDNESDAY will decide if Rockhampton jockey John Stephens turns the clock back 21 years and packs his saddle to ride in Brisbane on Saturday. ARTICLE BY TONY MCMAHON
June 17, 2020
The barrier draw this morning WEDNESDAY will decide if Rockhampton jockey John Stephens turns the clock back 21 years and packs his saddle to ride in Brisbane on Saturday.
Lepreezy trained by the jockey’s wife Angela has been entered for the $117K QTIS 3YO Fillies Handicap (1200m) at Doomben and providing it draws well John will take the ride.
Last night TUESDAY Stephens nominated his father-in-law trainer Jack Garland’s Leroy’s Magic as the last horse he had ridden at a metropolitan Saturday meeting in SEQ.
“It would have to be Leroy I would say”, Stephens said.
So it was as the jockey won the 1999 Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1200m) on the giant killing small of stature but game of heart Leroy’s Magic beating a hot field in the Winter Carnival of that year.
While Lepreezy could not be appraised as highly as Leroy’s Magic, the filly has been a wonderful colours bearer for her connections including the McKenzie family and Connie Stephens.
“If she draws well, she is going and as people have said you know her so well you should ride her”, John said.
There is no question about that as the jockey, a noted horseman did all the educational work with the Better Than Ready filly and has ridden her in five of her seven wins.
The Stephens stable is anxious to start Lepreezy on Saturday as they believe the run is vital to her chances of a feature race pursuit at Caloundra on July 11.
Meanwhile, much publicised filly She’s Our Rippa, a surprise acceptor for the Townsville TAB races tomorrow THURSDAY, may not make the trip and be reserved for a Rockhampton race next Tuesday.
She’s Our Rippa provided leading Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan with his first Yeppoon starter and winner when the filly won a $25K QTIS 2&3YO Maiden (1000m) at Keppel Park on Saturday June 6.
It was generally expected she would return to Brisbane the following week but connections decided to leave her with caretaker Rockhampton trainer Tim Cook and seek more suitable races in the region.
She’s Our Rippa is an acceptor for the $31K QTIS 3YO Handicap (1000m) at Townsville where Brisbane jockey Nathan Day is declared as her rider.
Day won a QTIS Maiden on She’s Our Rippa’s older brother I’m A Rippa in Rockhampton on October 11, 2016 which was the forerunner to the horse racing his way through the classes in Brisbane.
After the win, Gollan branded Day as the “King of the North” a position the popular jockey is back on the road again and keen to regain that status.
Last night TUESDAY Tim Cook said She’s A Rippa was only “50/50 about going to Townsville”.
“It is a top race and there is hot speed likely to be on. We (connections) will make our minds up in the morning (Wednesday) about whether she makes the trip. She may remain here for a Class 3 at Callaghan Park next Tuesday before going to Mackay for a suitable race the following week”, Cook said.
Day who took a recent break from race riding has eight bookings on the Townsville ten race program.
“I won’t be riding at Rocky next Tuesday as I am heading further north to ride at Cairns next Thursday”, Day said yesterday. TUESDAY
While Cook may not be headed north, fellow Rockhampton trainer Adrian Coome is Townsville bound with six starters for tomorrow. THURSDAY
Coome will start Hazar, Amorem, Betaima, Starfilly, Attique and Nineoneone at the meeting with jockeys Brad Pengelly, Justin Stanley and Chris Whiteley to share the rides.
Rockhampton trainers have become more prevalent in recent times road tripping their horses up the 722km of the Bruce Highway to Townsville.
Previously horses from Rockhampton were only taken north to Townsville for the Winter Carnival races there.
However, now with the far better prizemoney in play it has become a regular exercise.