Bumper day & an excellent 10 race program for Callaghan Park Friday Feb 16

Published 15 February 2024

Bumper day & an excellent 10 race program for Callaghan Park Friday Feb 16

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Figuratively speaking, Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse won’t know what hit it tomorrow (Friday) with a mammoth 10 race TAB card featuring around 104 horses to descent on the track with a 12.13pm start and 5.40pm finishing time. 

At mid-afternoon Thursday, RJC CEO David Aldred reported rating the track as a Soft 5.

“Yes, it should be a bumper day. Few scratchings but still a good program. Trent (Williams -course curator) will assess (track) again tomorrow (Friday) but barring anything unforeseen, it (track) should remain unchanged”, Aldred said.

The expanded 10 race card, the product of the Mackay scheduled race date of earlier this week being abandoned, will be the busiest one day of racing staged in Rockhampton for many a long year. 

With an influx of horses trained outside Callaghan Park accounting for 43% of the starters, you would not have to be a rocket scientist to conclude that it promises to be a day of highly competitive racing. 

So much so, to reach an honest conclusion after deciphering the form, only a brave or naïve tipster could conclude there is a “good thing “on the card.

Maybe some will and good luck to they of that ilk, but the off spin is that punters should get rewarding value for their fancies in the respective races. 

From the list of jockeys totalling 19, an argument could be sustained that SEQ Fly in jockey Les Tilley, best known for winning the Rockhampton Cup of three occasions (Mamselle Corday, 2018) and Master Jamie (2022-23) has likely multiple winners among his book of six rides.

Tagged as Bubba Tilley, he well could start off on a winning note on the Tom Smith trained debutant Sunshinyday (TAB 7) which trialed well when second recently at Callaghan Park behind subsequent winner More Stylish. 

The race in question is a precarious one for punters with the entire seven horse field all bar Clinton Taylor’s Travelling Sweet (which looks a mighty chance) being first starters.

Tilley teams with Sunshine Coast trainer Stuart Kendrick in the second race the, QTIS 3YO Maiden (1100m) with Sheezalittletorque (TAC 6) which has the form, credentials and barrier to win.

Complicating matters though is so too does Kendrick’s stablemate, Tour De Field (TAB 4) with leading jockey Ryan Wiggins engaged. 

Just another puzzle for punters to sort out whereby betting fluctuations may well be the barometer. 

Tilley can rest-up then in the jockey’s room for about 90 minutes until his next mount and a good one at that in Graeme Green’s last start winner Desert Moon (Race 6 -TAB 1).

Tom’s Smith’s Canny Be Better (TAB 3) and John Wigginton’s Street Glory (TAB 10) will also be in the fray in a “you beaut” race. 

Forty minutes later, Tilley teams with “Winning strike rate Maestro,” Nick Walsh with Onomatopoeia (R 7 -TAB 4) which looms large as the likely winner. 

A couple of races later Tilley has another sound each way prospect in loyal supporter trainer Green’s Thisland Is Myland (R 10 -TAB 5) in a bottler of a race featuring gifted Honkytonk Diva (TAB 4) and talented Better Rain (TAB 6).

How remiss of me, almost overlooked Bubba Tilley’s engagement by Caloundra trainer Natalie McCall for He’s Essential (TAB 1) in the preceding race, being the ninth.

By the way one of the afternoon’s most interesting starters was that of joint licencee the trainer-jockey Warwick Satherley’s Sir Grace (NZ) (TAB 6 in Race 6).

Warwick had dual accepted with Sir Grace but scratched it from the second race.

It has plenty of ability just like his Kiwi trainer-jockey (now an accepted local) who won’t be able to complain about the ride if things don’t run to plan.

If you have been wondering what has become of another overseas jockey currently based in Rockhampton in Raul Silvera Olivera, I can oblige.

Raul has not ridden in races since dislocating and injuring his left shoulder in a race mishap when he came to grief on Miss Helmet at Home Hill races on January 17.

Raul had a doctor’s appointment in Rockhampton late on Thursday (today) when he was hoping to gain a clearance to recommence riding.

Deepest condolences are extended to the family of former highly prominent Rockhampton racehorse trainer William (Bill) Curran who passed away last Monday at the age of 91.

From one of Rockhampton’s, if not Queensland’s best-known racing dynasties, Bill’s “Celebration of Life” will be held at the Memorial Gardens Chapel, Nerimbera on Monday, February 19 at 2.30pm. 

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