‘Junior’ wins the TAB Rockhampton Newmarket for Wakefield Racing!

Published 10 July 2023

‘Junior’ wins the TAB Rockhampton Newmarket for Wakefield Racing!

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Family ties and memories came to the fore when “Junior” won the $100,000 TAB Rockhampton Newmarket (1300m) for three generations of Brisbane’s Wakefield racing clan last Friday.

Allow me to introduce “Junior” the stable name for trainer Brain Wakefield’s pet and ultra talented racehorse Roman Aureus (Georgina Cartwright) the $12.00 winner of the feature sprint.

In a thrilling finish, Roman Aureos swamped defiant and luckless favourite Princess Tenko (Justin Stanley, $2.80) with Palladas (Martin Harley, $3.80) close-up in third position.

Indeed, a family affair, Roman Aureos (b g 6 Red Element-Praia Vermelha) was bred by Brian and wife Natalie who are also the managing owners of a syndicate of 20 who race the gelding.

Roman Aureos returned to the winner’s stall to be greeted by Natalie and son and Brian (Jnr) and daughter Erin who both strap the Newmarket victor.

Roman Aureos’ dam Praia Vermalda x Dodge was purchased as a yearling for $10K by Brian’s father, the late popular Brisbane trainer and jockey Brian Wakefield senior, to kick start his son’s training career.

“She showed so much promise winning a jump out by eight lengths but regrettably never got to the races as she was unsound”, Natalie Wakefield explained.

However, in the breeding barn Praia Vermelda has been a golden producer through not only Roman Aureos, a nine times winner of $544,575 in stakes but also his full brother Denarius.

The latter was a multiple Brisbane winner for the Wakefield’s amassing $338,800 in prize money.

Jubilant family members and others from the ownership group besieged Roman Aureus as Georgina Cartwright unsaddled him with Brian Wakefield taking his hat off and gesturing it as a form of salute to “Junior”.

“He is such a beautiful horse. This was the first time we have ever travelled him away and he handled it typically with ease. We were never able to take him away (from SEQ) because of the Covid at the time”, he explained.

Roman Aureus’ win continued another family link with feature Rockhampton Winter Carnival wins for two of its members.

The Newmarket winner is part-owned by Eric Railton Jnr, a son of the late Eric Railton a permanent fixture of Rocky Winter Carnival’s decades ago who trained Lumley Fair (Larry Allen) to win the Cup in 1976.

The other was Frank Godwin, son of the late Darby Godwin, a businessman and publican extensively involved with racing here winning the 1982 Newmarket with the Jimmy Unwin trained Dignitas Son (Geoff Allendorf).

Frank is married to Brian Wakefield’s sister Debbie, so the Roman Aureos win certainly was very much family orientated.

As could be expected, Brisbane jockey Cartwright was delighted to win the Newmarket but there was a deeper reason.

‘’Ï was runner-up last year on Vinco (won by Dr Zous) so today winning on Roman Aureos was redemption”, she said through a winning grin.

Undoubtedly, the luckless Newmarket runner was runner-up Princess Tenko (Justin Stanley) which was trapped deep throughout but never stop fighting and kicking-back to be beaten less than half-length.

The Rockhampton Newmarket win was the second for Brain Wakefield as he also won the race 14 years previously with Frosty in 2009, ridden by Scott Seamer the 2001 Melbourne Cup winning rider of Ethereal.

The Roman Aureus win brought up a double for the stable as its only other starter last Friday, Cannon Hill (Georgina Cartwright, $7.50) won the $32K 2&3YO Maiden Handicap (1200m).

Double family celebrations there also, as Cannon Hill is also part-owned by the Wakefield’s and Frank Godwin.


Tony McMahon.

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