GR 1 jockey Martin Harley the toast of Callaghan Park Sunday.
Published 26 June 2023
Globe trotting five times GR 1 winning jockey Martin Harley has provided the Rockhampton Jockey Club with priceless rave comments about Callaghan Park as a racetrack.
Irishman, Harley 33, was not only the toast of Callahan Park and off course punters Australia wide last Sunday but also the RJC hierarchy over his spontaneous comments.
Harley has ridden winners at some of the world’s most prestigious tracks including Royal Ascot, Newmarket, The Curragh, Chantilly, Longchamp, Meydan and Shatin.
In fact Harley from records extracted from Racing and Sports has ridden at 141 racecourses in 14 countries.
These being Ireland, GB, UAE, Italy, Germany, France, USA, SA, Turkey, Qatar, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Sweden and Australia (39 tracks) including Flemington, Randwick, Rosehill and Eagle Farm.
“Callaghan Park is a big spacious track with a beautiful grass galloping surface. It very much reminds me of the big European tracks. It is not unlike Ascot in some ways but it does not have the rises. Actually, I rate it closest to the Shatin track in Hong Kong.
It was rated a Good 4 today (Tatts Cup, Sunday, June 25) and that’s exactly what it was”, the congenial Irishman said.
His comments were vindicated by fast times throughout the eight race card.
This was highlighted by Harley’s mount Indian Dreamer breaking Rocky Cup winner Vindicated’s 2014 track record for the 1600m when he won the Tatts Cup in 1m:33.36 seconds.
Earlier after winning on Call Me Marilyn, the jockey went ever further in his lavish assessment of the track to part-owner and RJC committee person Bill Ouston.
“This could be the best track I have ridden on in Australia is what Martin told me after I asked him about what he thought of the track”, Ouston reported.
Harley relocated to Queensland last November but broke his neck and suffered a brain bleed in a horror fall at Doomben on January 11.
Ironically, this cost him the winning ride on Alpine Edge, part-owned by Bill and Di Ouston in a $1M MM Classic at the Gold Coast on January 19.
Martin only resumed race riding on May 27 after a determined rehabilitation program to return.
He wore a neck halo for months but never weakened in his resolve to achieve a full recovery in the quickest time possible.
This he has done and it is a remarkable feat to ride five winners on a card given he had only been back riding (20 rides) since May 27.
Sunday, where he had six race rides was his first venture north to Rocky.
“Toby Edmonds and Trent (Gold Coast) were very keen for me to come up today. They are good trainer-judges so I didn’t need much persuasion. Naturally I am glad I did”, Martin said after winning the Tatts Cup for the pair.
Edmonds and Harley won three races on the eight race card with earlier wins on Call Me Marilyn ($2.80) and Boho Beauty ($3.60).
Harley’s other wins on Natalie McCall’s Gold Revolution ($1.35- QTIS 2YO) and Rudimentary ($4.80- Corey and Kylie German) completed his handful of successes.
Indian Dreamer’s 2.67 lengths win in the Cup gained the Sepoy 6YO gelding automatic entry into the $150K TAB Rockhampton Cup (1600m) on Saturday week.
It’s a given M. Harley will be the jock if of course weights permit.
Toby Edmonds had previously won a Rockhampton Cup with Chappel Dancer (Alan Cowie) when run over 2000m in 1999.
Now 24 years later he will attempt to repeat the dose with Indian Dreamer which has won six races and $270,000 in stakes.
“We bought him as a yearling ($100,000) and he always showed us he could gallop. He was dumb earlier on and a slow maturer but he is right now. We really expected him to race well today”, Toby Edmonds said.
The trainer plans to bring a team of horses for the two day Newmarket Cup Carnival on July 7 and 8.
“I don’t have a Newmarket horse but I have a Cup horse now”, Edmonds said as he greeted a smiling Harley and his very fit racehorse Indian Dreamer in the winners’ stall.
HOOFNOTE: Among over 800 winners in his 16 years international career, Martin Harley can boast having won one of the world’s most coveted sprints, the GR 1 Kings Stand Handicap at Royal Ascot achieved on Goldream in 2015.
By Tony McMahon.