Closest trainers premiership in over a century and a half of Rocky racing.

Published 19 July 2023

Closest trainers premiership in over a century and a half of Rocky racing.

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Rockhampton’s trainer’s premiership for the 2022/23 season which concludes on Thursday is shaping up as almost certainly the closest result in the 155 years history of racing in the city.

Only two wins separate the top three contenders.

In updated figures provided by the RJC after sourcing Racing Queensland records on Tuesday, Ricky Vale leads with 26 wins from Clinton Taylor 25 and Nick Walsh 24.

It will certainly be a case of the result “going down to the wire” at the eight race Rockhampton Jockey Club TAB card on Thursday.

Between them the trio of trainers contesting the premiership outcome will start no fewer than a dozen horses.

Ricky Vale, the premier Rockhampton trainer for the 2020/21 racing season has the largest string by far racing with seven starters. 

These are Gives Me Thrills (Race 2 – TAB 8), Valentina Express (R 3 – TAB 4), The Company (R 4 – TAB 5), Matador (R 5 – TAB 5), Divide The Sea (R 6 -TAB 2), Fighting Command (R 6 -TAB 3) and Doothakarmichael (R 8 -TAB 4).

Clinton Taylor, the reigning premier Callaghan Park trainer starts a trio – Nasha (R 5 -TAB 8), Josie’s Spirit (R 7 -TAB 6) and Ashiko Bay (R 8 -TAB 3).

Nick Walsh, the least experienced of the trainers only starting his career in 2019 will be represented by Beyond Star (NZ) (R 3 – TAB 1) and Sizzling Samurai (R 4 – TAB 3).

The winning strike rates of the trio have no doubt made them favourites with on course and off course punters wagering on Rockhampton racing.

Nick Walsh boasts a 38.10% WSR while Clinton Taylor has 30.12% and Ricky Vale 25.49% 

The contest between the three young titan trainers and the appearance of Brisbane’s Jimmy Orman vying for Australian Jockey Premiership honours, has really added hype to Thursday’s card. 

On Tuesday morning Orman 184 wins led Newcastle’s Aaron Bullock 183.5 but a Taree race double by mid afternoon, had the latter in front on 185.5 wins. 

As well Orman, who has seven race rides on Thursday, eight other “fly-in” jockeys from SEQ will ride at the meeting after which Ryan Wiggins will again win the jockeys premiership title.

Orman’s rides in the main, particularly those for Brisbane trainer Michael Lakey and the Sunshine Coast’s Darryl Hansen and Stuart Kendrick look to have outstanding winning prospects.

Currently, Wiggins sits on top with 52 winners on the RJC ladder, double his nearest rival and former multiple premiership winner Justin Stanley on 26. 

Ricky Vale trained Knight’s Sword (b g 5 Rubick-Witchlike) will be a clear winner of the Rockhampton Jockey Club Horse of the Year award through six wins during the season.

Four of those were in succession at RJC meetings. 

Callaghan Park’s much used turf course proper will again close for annual maintenance and refurbishment after the races there on August 30.

As a consequence, RJC race meetings scheduled on September 13 and 27 will be transferred to Keppel Park, Yeppoon.

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