Visitors praise Rocky Winter Carnival

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By Darryn Nufer

WITH the curtain now fallen on the 2018 Rockhampton Winter Racing Carnival I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of the positive feedback aired on social media during the week.

Maybe even look into the crystal ball for next year.

It all began last Thursday when the Red Lion Hotel played host to the Rocky Cup Calcutta before attention turned trackside at Callaghan Park for the Newmarket & Cup race days.

Some of Australian racing’s “big guns” were here and this is what they had to say on Twitter after the Carnival.

Victorian jockey Chris Symons (pictured): “What a great carnival, was an absolute privilege and pleasure being there. Great town, great people and awesome bunch of jockeys to ride with. Thanks Rockhampton Jockey Club for having me.”

Victorian race caller Ric McIntosh: “Well done on a great carnival. It’s stand alone Saturday time, Mr Parnell (CEO Racing Queensland).”

The Courier Mail racing editor Nathan Exelby: “Was terrific to be here. Many thanks for your hospitality. Great couple of days.”

Media commentator Sam Hyland: “Terrific day yesterday (Rocky Cup Day), well done to all involved.”

Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie: “Great carnival again, professionally run, unbelievably accommodating and deservedly continues to grow! Came up just short in our attempt to win the car but big congratulations to Tony Gollan.”

In addition, for those who missed it last week, I reported that Brisbane trainer Chris Anderson wants to see Rockhampton’s feature races, Newmarket (1300m) and Cup (1600m), upgraded to Listed races.

“I think Racing Queensland should look at upgrading the Newmarket and Cup to Listed races and the Rocky carnival would be supported even further,” Anderson said.

“It would give owners and trainers the ability to have one more crack at trying to get a mare some black type and the prize money is there because it’s as good as a black type race is in Brisbane anyway.”

From the above comments it’s clear that our Carnival has gained some traction down south.

Leading Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan also said during his acceptance speech at Callaghan Park on Saturday, after winning a new $30,000 car for being the top trainer over the two days of racing, that he had picked out a team of gallopers to bring here to win the prize.

When the Rockhampton Jockey Club committee tables ideas for next year, I reckon bringing back the Carnival’s leading jockey award should be a priority.

It was well-documented the drama that several riders went through with flight delays out of Brisbane on Newmarket Day and a jockey prize would not only be a just reward for those who travel to support our carnival, it would add theatre to the feature days just as the trainer challenge did this year.

Attention turns to Mackay today for the running of the $100,000 Mackay Cup and $75,000 Newmarket.

Bluff owner Scott Power, who shares in the ownership of Rocky Cup hero Mamselle Corday with Jean McMahon, Jennifer Acton, William Lehfeldt and Richard Turnbull, also has an interest in Mackay Cup runner Fastnet Flyer.

It would be some result for Power if he was to win two Cups in the space of seven days.

Former Rockhampton stablehand Alexandra Bowman relocated to Mackay this week with the goal of starting her jockey apprenticeship.

Bowman, 22, will link with trainer Trinity Bannon and ride trackwork for that stable initially.

Prominent Rockhampton owner Bill Ouston was on a high on Wednesday when a horse he has an interest in Havasay, won the Listed $160,000 Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton for trainer Toby Edmonds.

Rocky Newmarket runner-up Executed finished fifth in the Ramornie.

Rocky Cup heroine Mamselle Corday has gone to the spelling paddock for a well-earned break while Newmarket winner Peacock will head towards Townsville’s Cleveland Bay Handicap (1300m) on July 28 which is another leg of the lucrative UBET Northern Crowns Series.

This year’s Capricornia Yearling Sale 2YO Classic winner Wicked Ways, which has Rockhampton ownership interests, resumes today at the Sunshine Coast in a QTIS 2YO Handicap (1000m).

Racing returns to Callaghan Park on Tuesday, July 24.

PHOTO: Popular Victorian jockey Chris Symons rode Worthy Hero to victory on Rocky Cup Day. Photo Taron Clarke.


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