Galloping Around CQ, with Tony McMahon

Published 22 September 2022

Galloping Around CQ, with Tony McMahon

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Quite frankly it is a fulltime job keeping up with the news around Rockhampton and Central Queensland racing. For this reason, I have today introduced a new newsy column as a back-up to my weekly regular Racing Around Rockhampton. It is not anticipated to be as comprehensive but just as an adjunct to RAR with this column Galloping Around Central Queensland (GACQ) to fill in the gaps. Here goes and trust you like it.

It is a truism that “no news is good news’’ but the news today that Yeppoon’s Keppel Park grass track was rated a Soft 6 on Friday morning will be joy to the ears of trainers with runners entered there for next Tuesday. There was widespread criticism that the “going” was far too firm there on September 13. The irrigation system installed at Keppel Pak was dysfunctional leading up to the meeting. Urgent efforts are underway to fix the problem post haste leading up to next Tuesday’s transferred RJC race meeting to Keppel Park. More rain or so in the next few days could be the solution. However, let’s not hope it is a case of “it never rains but it pours”.

Congratulations to Rocky apprentice Tahlia Fenlon with another feather in her cap by winning the Capricornia Country Jockey’s Premiership. A dapper looking Capricornia Racing Association representative Leon Roberts made the presentations to Tahlia, leading trainer Glenda Bell and leading owners Glenda Bell and Lindy Kehl at the Springsure Cup meeting last Saturday, 

Speaking of Tahlia, she heads out “bush”, west to Twin Hills on Friday and Saturday where she has 10 rides at the Twin Hills Race Club which combines with camp drafts and a rodeo. Everyone who has been to the Twin Hills Annuals swears by it with abounding compliments. The 1300 metres racecourse is tops with amenities second to none for a bush meeting including a stable barn for the visiting horses to overnight. The club offers $115,000K in prizemoney – unbelievable. Rocky stakeholders engaged at Twin Hills abt 130km north of Clermont include Kevin Miller (5 starters), Tim Cook (6 acceptors) as well as fellow trainers Darryl Johnston and Natalea Summers. Natalie also rides there as does apprentice Brooke Johnson. The track is on a working cattle station just like Wilpeena in years gone by. Scott Power who hosts the interviews with a roving microphone is an unabashed fan of Twin Hills. “I look forward every year to Twin Hills. The best part is mobile phone reception is very limited and people actually sit around and talk to each other”. Good heavens do they still do that?

The Rockhampton Jockey Club’s 2021-22 season premiership awards night will be held in The Members at Callaghan Park racecourse on Friday, November 18. More on that next week.

Multiple premiership winning Rockhampton jockey then trainer and now jockey-trainer Adrian Coome is obviously on the comeback trail again as a hoop. Adrian bobbed-up at the Sunshine Coast barrier trials last Tuesday riding in eight heats for his old mate Stuart Kendrick. Adrian, a brilliant talent rode two winners. A respected figure in racing, Adrian made a comeback to race riding earlier this year. He was suspended from riding in July after a sample taken recorded a higher threshold than permissible to the weight reducing drug Phentermine. It was regrettable that this came about but since time immortal heavy jockeys have been tempted to use even legal substances to reduce weight quickly. Decades back the use of the illegal diuretics commonly known as “Piss Pills” was fashionable with some jocks. Very dangerous as quick weight loss through draining of fluids weakens the body accordingly let alone riding massive thoroughbreds. In my day as a stipe, I had culprits collapse after a race and horrible to say but vomit during a race. Other offenders at that time virtually gave themselves away (raised questions) by having extreme difficulty in pulling their horses up after race. The safest way to lose weight requires patience, sacrifice and determination and regimented exercise and sensible diet. Yes, easy to say but hard to do. I should know as I succumbed and had a Lap Band once. I’m sure Adrian knows that all too well, now. Hope to see you back fighting fit and winning Adrian after your holiday ends on October 6. If that’s what you wish to do (race riding) then go for it.  Remember however – go quietly, go quietly which applies to all walks of life. 

 No surprises Rockhampton hoop Tash Chambers has four rides for Taroom trainer Rodney Hay at the Taroom Cup meeting on Saturday. Tash and Rodney have been having a great trot with winners all around the place including Rocky in recent months.

Rockhampton trainers Allan Jones (Bittergreymagic) and Jared Wehlow (Roshan) are the city’s only trainers with starters at the Gladstone meeting on Saturday. Colin Lennon and Chris McIver, the only two hoops from here, there. (Gee that has a ring to it).

Moranbah trainer Bevan Johnson has handed Gladstone punters a good guide. He had horses entered for Longreach Cup meeting and Mt Isa on Saturday but has opted for Gladdy. His colour bearers are Wishnowsky, Karbors, Only Emma, Han Dynasty and Taken On Chance. Stable apprentice Tyler Leslight, a big improver in the riding ranks will have the sit on all five.

Rockhampton’s Kristie Clark-Peoples, daughter of former well known Longreach trainer Allan Clark will represent us with Centaur in the $27,500 Longreach Cup (1600m). Good luck Kristie and I am sure you will get a big welcome back out there.

So much for being brief but anyhow when I start writing racing, my passion gallops well ahead of the computer keyboard and invariably a manuscript is the outcome. Hope you liked the read of this first GALLOPING AROUND CENTRAL QUEENSLAND.

Happy Horses Tony.




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