A hive of activity in preparation for the CYS annual sale & racing carnival.

Published 30 March 2023

A hive of activity in preparation for the CYS annual sale & racing carnival.

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Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse and the Robert Schwarten Pavilion at the Rockhampton Showgrounds are a hive of activity presently, being prepared for two days of racing and Sunday’s Capricornia Yearling Sale.

At Callaghan Park racecourse where 16 races and approximately $700,000 in prizemoney is on offer on Friday and Saturday, workers are busy on two fronts.

The new look, The Members Auditorium and present viewing deck overlooking the parade enclosure with an expanded wing viewing concept, won’t be completed but racegoers will be able to visualise what the finish product will look like.

While not completed, the new winner and placegetters stalls adjacent the lawns and directly in front of the public viewing stand and Amateurs Lounge will be in use on both Friday and Saturday.

The winning horse and placegetters will access the stalls directly off the track while unplaced horses will go straight into the mounting enclosure.

RJC officials believe the advantages will make for a more safety aligned and less congested system and provide the opportunity for more racegoers to be up close and take in more of the post-race theatre.

“We have designed it along similar lines to Moonee Valley and other race courses and where it has been well received”, RJC chairman Rob Carr said while inspecting progress works at Callaghan Park today.

RJC CEO Ian Mill said he was buoyed by positive comments about changes at the selling venue at the Robert Schwarten Pavilion for Sunday’s CYS where about 125 yearlings will be auctioned.

Noticeable alterations include the extension of the parade ring from which yearlings are auctioned as well as allowing for a larger area for buyers to access the vicinity of the ring from where they place their bids.

“We have moved the seating stands back further away from the selling ring and this allows for far greater room and access for people movement. As well it provides all likely bidders to be seen and to go about their activity in not such a crowed area”, Mill said.

“The early vendors arriving with their yearlings already out there have commented very favourably about the new look. I think it will be well received by breeders, vendors, buyers and all those attending Sunday’s sale”, Mill said.

Neville Stewart, principal of Oaklands Stud, Darling Downs and the longest current selling vendor at Rockhampton applauded the new look.

“I like it as it is far more open and allows for both more horse and people movement in and around the ring”, Stewart said.

Mill said that he and the RJC were most appreciative of the effort all the staff at both Callaghan Park and at the CYS venue had been putting in this week.

“Look it is a huge job converting the pavilion here into a suitable thoroughbred selling arena. For instance, by putting up about 130 temporary stables, a selling ring and seating facilities and safety railing. Massive job. Our club does not have the funding capacity to employ a big workforce and all the people involved are to be congratulated. So much goes into this”, Mill said in his first year as CYS convenor.

The majority of yearlings will arrive at the Showgrounds tomorrow (Friday) and a welcome complimentary barbeque will take place there with a select yearling parade after the races from about 5pm onwards on Saturday.

Saturday’s Callaghan Park seven race TAB program which includes the $150K (plus QTIS bonuses) DVL CYS 2YO Plate (1200m) and the $100K Ulton 3&$YO (1300m) commences at the earling time of 11.49am.

The seventh and final race runs off at 3.37pm completing a quality card of racing.

Mill said the race starting times were not determined by the RJC but are instigated by Racing Queensland.

“As a result the majority of Saturday’s Rockhampton race card will be on SKY 1 for viewing while Friday’s nine race card will be on SKY 2”, Mill said.

Race meetings televised on SKY 1 are generally accepted within the industry as generating far greater betting turnover hence the earlier starting time and scheduling of Saturday’s Rockhampton races.


Tony McMahon.

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