High Hopes for Fab’s Cowboy 50th Win: By Tony McMahon.
Published 21 October 2022
The Gladstone Turf Club will conduct a phantom race meeting tomorrow (Saturday, October 22) with the likelihood the local races scheduled will be transferred to Sunday weather permitting
The GTC president David Weinert made the announcement after a track inspection on Friday afternoon and a detailed study of the weather forecast from BOM.
Weinert was caught between a rock and a hard place admitting that at the time of the inspection under sunshine around 2.30pm the Ferguson Park sand track was raceable.
“Look if we held a race there now (2.30pm Friday) it is quite likely they could run a course record. However, with the predictions of more rain on Saturday that situation could change to make the track unraceable.
We can’t just go ahead on that basis and hope the weather will be OK and disregard the forecasts. There are trainers travelling their horses for four hours and even longer from the likes of Roma, Moranbah and Mackay. It would be entirely wrong to have them arrive here with their horses on Saturday and we had to call the meeting off. There is far too much doubt involved to take that gamble and it would be wrong to do so”, Weinert said.
He said that instead Ferguson Park would host a “phantom” race meeting on Saturday with bookmakers, totalisator and all other usual beverage and catering facilities available for the public.
“The club wants to cater for our loyal patrons and this is the best way of doing it. It is huge racing day with the Cox Plate race meeting at Moonee Valley being on Saturday”, he said.
Weinert said a further track inspection and weather analysis would he made on Saturday afternoon to determine if the local five race meeting could go ahead on Sunday.
“If that call is made to race on Sunday it is likely that we will start the races earlier than normal possibly around noon”, he said.
Racing stakeholders were appreciative of the Gladstone Turf Club making an early announcement on the fate of Saturday’s local races and supportive of the possible transfer to Sunday. Racing sentimentalists are hopeful Gladstone will race on Sunday as country racing legend Fab’s Cowboy will be out to claim his 50th race win when he contests the Open Handicap (1194m). Fab’s Cowboy (11Y0) won his Maiden at Gladstone on June 6, 2016 and his entire Ferguson Park sand track racing record stands at eight wins, two seconds and one third from 11 starts. His wins there have ranged from 1000 metres to 1517 metres and he won his 49th race for trainer Bevan Johnson at Blackall last Saturday. Fab’s Cowboy’s record stands at 49 wins, 26 seconds and eight thirds from 130 starts for $388,350 in prize money. In this Sunday’s Open Handicap, he will be ridden by Dakota Graham and is handicapped on 65.5kg.
Dakota, the daughter of Bevan and Mel Johnson, semi-retired because of weight issues last December after landing almost 150 winners. In fact, she has not ridden in a race since December 11 last year at Roma but would dearly love to be on board Fab’s Cowboy for his 50th race win. Dakota Graham is no stranger to Fab’s Cowboy having only the one race ride for a win on him on October 22, 2016 at Gladstone. Being a family member, she still rides considerable track work for the Johnson stable each morning before working in a veterinary clinic. Should Fab’s Cowboy win his momentous 50th race at Gladstone on Sunday, tears of emotion will rightly flow to honour an Australian country racing icon.
Among the acceptors for the Gladstone card are 11 horses from Rockhampton.