A cracking program of non-stop racing continues Thursday at Callaghan Park.

Published 30 April 2024


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What a sensational month April has been for the Rockhampton racing industry. It commenced “on cue” with the first day of the RJC’s Festival of Racing on Friday, April 5 (6 races). The rich RJC Capricornia Yearling Sale Classic race day (Saturday) fell victim to rain and was run on Thursday, April 18. That brought about a record 12-race TAB card for Callaghan Park and was highly successful. It was certainly a day for the “stayers” and not “players” with race times ranging from 10.27am to 5.07pm. Harking back to Sunday, April 7 and the Capricornia Yearling Sale was successful at the Showgrounds with just over $1,093,500 in sales. Pleasingly, it was marginally up the 2023 version while the 81.65% clearance rate was excellent (only 63.56% in 2023). Was this year’s CYS a record I have been constantly asked in the weeks since? No, in 2022 it made $1.67M in sales which was extraordinary. Rockhampton racing’s month of April 2024 reached a climax with Rocky Amateurs The Archer meeting with over $1M prizemoney (including trophies and bonuses) last Sunday. In all, Callaghan Park withstood 260 starters spread over 26 races at the above three meetings on tracks rated a Soft 6 and twice a Soft 5. Great credit to curator Trent Williams and of course his track staff, all too often like barrier attendants not reaping the praise they deserve. Those 26 races offered a mind boggling $1,718,000 in prizemoney. Take a bow Rockhampton racing and all associated with the month of April 2024.

Get over to Callaghan Park again on Thursday for a strong six race TAB card. It is the first time there that I can ever remember just as many female jockeys riding as male. Six apiece.

Very briefly – I promise! “Öh yeah we have heard that one before Tony,” you are saying, aren’t you?  Thrilled to have been able to be on hand to snap a pic of Jockey Michael Rodd, wife Cara and their young daughter Chloe when dad brought back Sir Warwick back a winner last Sunday. “That’s the first time Chloe has been to the races and seen her father ride a winner,” a delighted Cara shared with me. I reckon it is a safe bet  it is the first of many such occasions. Gee, I must be getting on. I recall Cara as a young lass over at Callaghan Park with her parents, bookmaker Vince and wife Judy Aspinall. Anyhow the smile on Chloe’s face last Sunday said it all!

Regret to report on the passing of former Callaghan Park trainer Les Cooke last weekend. Les was quite a character around the tracks in his heyday. When I came to Rockhampton in 1988, he was very involved with Rockhampton’s Owners and Trainers Association. Les befriended me. He was affectionately referred to as “the scientific trainer.’’ Hope to be able to supply full details on his funeral (next Friday) arrangements later this week.

Impressive and well-deserved win to John Wigginton’s In Evidence (which I have been writing about for ages) in Brisbane last Saturday under Vlad Duric. In Evidence, will back-up in the $300K GR 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday. “We got home at 12.30pm last Sunday. He pulled up great. Had a swim on Monday and pace work this morning at Callaghan Park. Have no jockey currently as Vlad had already taken another ride,” John said this afternoon (Tuesday). 

Biloela schoolgirl, the Thangool apprentice jockey Jamie-Lee Devine could not be blamed for finding it hard to concentrate on her studies today. Yesterday (Monday) on her home track, Jamie had her first race ride and a winning one at that on the aptly named Imagine That trained by her father, the former jockey Jason Devine and owned by her mother Edwina. Jamie was only notified late last Friday that her apprentice race riding licence had been approved. Image That’s win was a dream come true for the young lady. The irony is that Imagine That is a daughter pf Dream Ahead. Keep on doing just that Jamie as dreams can come true!

Looks like Kelvin Sparrow has another very smart horse in Sunday’s winner Cherry Rose. Only well above average horses did what she did to win. Warwick Satherley admitted to a case of “the nerves” when a grandstand jockey watching Sir Grace (NZ), which he trains won narrowly under Justin Stanley on Sunday. Much easier when you are aboard, is it not Warwick? 

Happy Horses and see you at Callaghan Park on Thursday – Tony McMahon.

HOOFNOTE: If Acerod can repeat it’s freakish third on debut here on April 18, it will win the opening race at 1.12pm.

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