All roads lead to Mackay- Article by Tony McMahon

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All roads and highways lead to Mackay’s Ooralea racecourse FRIDAY for a mega day of TAB racing featuring the $85K Mackay Cup (2000m) and the $65K Mackay Newmarket (1300m).
Not surprisingly no fewer than 40 Rockhampton trained horses will be participating at the nine race TAB card with a mammoth $320,000 prize money on offer.
Only three Rockhampton horses will chase the large spoils of the Mackay Cup – Jared Wehlow’s Balboa Rocks; Bevan Johnson’s old marvel Fab’s Cowboy and Allan Clark’s Hi Harry.
This year’s Mackay Cup lacks the presence of any top-class middle-distance performer so it is fair to say that the Rocky trio cannot by any means be dismissed.
The query with Balboa Rocks (Paul Hamblin) is the 2000 metres trip which is much the same for prolific country winner Bevan Johnson’s Fab’s Cowboy.
The word “prolific” really doesn’t do Fab’s Cowboy justice, as wait for it, the eight-years-old son of Greenwood Lake has won an astounding 38 races.
All have been on country tracks and Fab’s Cowboy has never been tried beyond 1600 metres at which he has been a multiple winner.
What a story it would be if he could win the Cup.
Allan’ Clark’s Hi Harry will also run as an outsider but he is a Gold Coast winner over 1800 metres and his recent runs in Rockhampton have been indicative that he is looking for 2000 metres now.
Don’t be surprised if Harry gives trainer Allan a grand sight!
Unlike the Cup, the Mackay Newmarket is a very strong field and here Rockhampton’s Inquiry and Bat A Kat have superb winning prospects.
By coincidence and a quirk of fate, both sprinters have drawn the favoured barriers – Bat A Kat (1) and Inquiry (2).
That is a massive plus at Mackay meaning that their style of on-pace racing should see them save valuable ground throughout while many of their top-class rivals have drawn poorly.
This applies to Darryl Hansen’s Monsieur Gustave (12); Tony Comerford’s Deadly Choices (13) and again Hansen’s Rocky Newmarket winner Doctor Zous (17).
Callaghan Park trainer Clinton Taylor and Brisbane jockey Justin Stanley have excellent chances of snaring success on the Mackay card.
In the opening race the $31K QTIS 2 & 3YO Maiden (1200m) they combine with Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast place getter Nailed It Nan (TAB 7).
Here the form line is strong as on July 8 Nailed It Nan defeated subsequent Callaghan Park runaway winner Aerial Combat.
In this event the BM 69 (1580m) they team-up with highly promising Finucane Miss (TAB 12) which chases four wins in succession.
Stanley makes no bones about the idea he believes Finucane Missile is capable of winning in Brisbane.
If that be the case you would expect him to win this race with just 56kg to carry.
However, it is not quite that simple as the Darryl Hansen Sunshine Coast trained Dream Big (TAB 11) is expected to make a spirited contest of it.
Jared Wehlow and Ryan Wiggins have become something of a lethal race winning combination and that should continue through Only Wanna Sing (Race 2 -TAB 3) and North Afrika (R 9 – TAB 1).
Wehlow had North Afrika in the Mackay Cup but he was declared an emergency so he should be too good for his rivals in the alternative race despite having 63kg to carry.
Racing returns to Callaghan Park, Rockhampton on Tuesday, August 11.

 

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