Trainer Wright excited about Rocky move

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By Darryn Nufer 

After overcoming health battles recently, former Mackay trainer Lyle Wright was champing at the bit for a fresh start.

That opportunity has now presented itself with the widely-respected trainer and horseman having relocated to Rockhampton, boosting horse numbers stabled on course at Callaghan Park in the process.

Wright (pictured) currently has 10 horses in his care trackside and about 18 in total on the books.

“It depends if there is stabling available as to whether I get any more horses but my main issue is I like to be in control of all my horses so I like them to be stabled all together,” the 69-year-old said.

They say you can’t buy experience and Wright has plenty of it having originally taken out his trainer’s licence in the 1970s when he was employed in the mines and racing was just a hobby.

“I’ve had a few ups and downs lately but I’m starting to come good,” he said in reference to his health.

“This (move to Rocky) is good for me – it’s a fresh start and I feel good about it.

“Racing is just much more professionally run here by the club (Rockhampton Jockey Club) and I was getting a bit tired of travelling every week from Mackay.

“In Rocky you pretty much race every week and I can still travel to Mackay to race but it will be by choice, not something that I have to do.”

Among his arsenal are gallopers who would be stars in any local stable in the form of Cyclone Topgirl and Cyclone Fugitive.

Three-year-old filly Topgirl, as the name suggests, is just that having banked more than $240,000 in earnings for connections, Rockhampton’s Milner family, courtesy of seven wins from nine career starts thanks largely to the lucrative QTIS prize money scheme.

The daughter of American stallion Changeintheweather won an Open 900m barrier trial at Callaghan Park on Wednesday indicating she was in for another good campaign.

“She already had a couple of jump-outs and I was really impressed with her last jump-out,” Wright said.

“I know she’s not quite there yet but we’ve given her plenty of time and haven’t really pushed her so whatever she does in her first start back I’m sure she will improve on.”

Cyclone Fugitive, a five-year-old gelding also by Changeintheweather and raced by the Milners, is a winner of six races and almost $100,000 in stakes and is a galloper Wright believes can get to Open company.

“He was a little bit sore at the end of his last prep so hopefully with a little break we can fix that up,” Wright said.

Punters could also be well-advised to not let Cyclone Fugitive’s half-brother Hidden Warrant get under their guards.

The lightly raced three-year-old ran second in a 900m Class 2 barrier trial at Callaghan Park on Wednesday.

“He’s had a few issues with the barriers but hopefully we’ll iron those out and go from there,” Wright said.

“He was actually going better than Cyclone Topgirl leading up to his first start in a race but that doesn’t mean too much now because she (Topgirl) has obviously improved a lot.”

The addition of Lyle Wright at Callaghan Park has certainly boosted Rockhampton’s training ranks.

Rocky gallopers tackle Brisbane assignments

Last-start Rockhampton winner, the Graeme Green trained Master Jamie, tackles a rich QTIS Handicap (1200m) for two-year-olds at Doomben today.

Les Tilley retains the ride but the task will be difficult from barrier 13.

Fellow Rockhampton trainer Jared Wehlow has the in-form Onemore Emotion entered at Doomben in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1640m).

Free school holiday fun for the kids

With the school holidays fast approaching it may be wise to pencil into your diaries the Kids Fun Day at Callaghan Park on Tuesday, December 18.

The race day will feature a host of entertainment for the kids including the annual running of the Patlaw Securities Sprints for the youngsters (Under 9 and Under 12 categories).

The brainchild of long-time local racing supporter Patrick Paterson, of Patlaw Securities, the sprints will take place on the lawn in front of the grandstand and have been a real crowd pleaser since being introduced a few years back.

Entry to the running races will be free and there will be cash prizes up for grabs.

Not to forget the Great Keppel Island Hideaway Kids Fashions On The Field Competition that day which will also boast outstanding prizes.

Racing back at headquarters

Racing returns to Callaghan Park on Tuesday.

Photo: Courtesy of Taron Clarke, Return To Scale. 


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