Cracking 9 race program & 123 horses confirmed for Friday’s Newmarket Day.

Published 10 July 2024

Cracking 9 race program & 123 horses confirmed for Friday’s Newmarket Day.

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Friday’s One Syndications Rockhampton Newmarket race meeting has mushroomed to a record nine race TAB card with no fewer than 123 horses confirmed to run.

A capacity field of 16 sprinters is set to compete for the $100K prizemoney in the Newmarket (1300m) where two of the top prospects in John Manzelmann’s Tiger Legend and Craig Smith’s Art By Concorde (ABC) have drawn extremely wide.

Tiger Legend will jump from 13 gate while it is worse still for Art By Concorde from the extreme outside barrier at 16.

Manzelmann won the $200K Battle Of the Bush (1200m) when Tiger Legend was triumphant last start under 62kg for gifted Rockhampton heavyweight jockey Ashley Butler.

However, Butler will have to watch the Newmarket on television from the comforts of the jockey’s room. 

This came about when Tiger Legend was handicapped at 58.5kg.

“My riding weight is 60kg these days and I am comfortable with that. I feel I would not do myself any good nor the horses for the trainers that support me by trying to ride any lighter,” Ash Butler said today (Wednesday).

Butler has four heavyweight engagements on Friday but on Saturday he gets a very realistic chance to win the $150K TAB Rockhampton Cup (1600m) on Namazu.

“Ï think he really has a mighty chance,” he told me more so with confidence than optimism.

In lieu of Butler, Manzelmann has opted for recently returned but now Brisbane based international jockey Ron Stewart with both chasing their first Newmarket win.

Art By Concorde’s (ABC) astute Roma based trainer Craig Smith tasted Rockhampton Newmarket success in 2012 with Emmett (Dean Tanti).

Interestingly, Smith has engaged Brisbane’s Marnu Potgieter for ABC and he is only one of three juniors with mounts in the non-claiming feature race. 

 ABC was 1.77 lengths fourth behind Tiger Legend in the Battle Of the Bush and will meet his conqueror 1.5kg better off at the weights on Saturday so he gets his chance to turn the tables. 

Premier Queensland trainer Tony Gollan holds a strong Newmarket hand through Ef Troop (barrier 3) and Rockribbed (Angela Jones – 15).  

The RJC’s guest Winter Carnival jockey Brisbane’s Robbie Dolan rides Ef Troop, which is one of six rides he has on Friday.

Gollan will be represented by eight starters on Newmarket Day in a blitz aimed to accumulate sufficient points to lead convincingly in the $20K Trainers Bonus Challenge going into Saturday’s TAB Rocky Cup program.

Originally the Newmarket meeting was scheduled for eight races but the response to the Mini Loads Ken Russell Memorial Ratings Band 0-58 Handicap (1300m) was such (27) that Racing Queensland split it into two divisions. 

As an aside, it is the first time a 0-58 Racing Band race has been programmed for a Winter Carnival race meeting but judging by the popular response from trainers it won’t be the last.

Saturday’s mammoth program should invigorate betting turnover given the diversity of the stakeholders with runners from a widespread of Queensland.

The Callaghan Park jockey’s rooms will accommodate 25 riders – 18 male and seven females.

Former Callaghan Park based apprentice Nikki Olzard, currently leading the Queensland Country Apprentice Premiership table will have her first Rockhampton provincial ride,

Nikki, with 51 winners to her name will ride her Emerald master Raymond Williams’ horse Motamayiz (GB) as TAB 1 in the last of nine races at 4.44pm while the program kicks off at 11.29am.

Fields for the TAB Rockhampton Cup races on Saturday will be declared at 5am tomorrow (Friday).

Happy Horses everyone – Tony McMahon.

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