Justin Stanley hugs the rails for victory on Zipping Irish

Published 28 October 2022

Justin Stanley hugs the rails for victory on Zipping Irish

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“You can’t keep a good man down” so it came as no surprise that gifted prolific winning FIFO jockey Justin Stanley was back in his second home, the Callaghan Park, Rockhampton winners’ stall on Thursday.

Justin 41, has had more than his share of serious injuries during his jockeying career going back about 25 years but his determination, resilience and skill have always brought him back a winner after enforced layoffs.

Off the scene since early August and mainly resting-up from accrued aches and pains it didn’t take him long to get back winning at Callaghan Park where he has won about 250 races.

Wise in the way of his bodily limitations like most smart jockeys, Stanley took only two rides with the first the Clinton Taylor trained Montana Night ($2.60 fav) beaten a long neck in the BM 65 (1600m).

Just 35 minutes later Stanley produced one of his favourite tricks in never leaving the rails and persisting along that course down the straight to win the Gary Pancho Cron Memorial (1200m).

It was a combination of Stanley’s guile as well as the misfortune of the runner-up Valtino (Ryan Wiggins, $8.00) that the Clinton Taylor trained raging $1.60 favourite Zipping Irish got home by a half-head.

It was a race which brought about mixed emotions.

While race caller Russell Leonard was rightly-so complimenting over the airwaves Stanley’s brilliant ride over the airwaves, trainer Fred Smith, knowledgeable in the use of the French language rued the defeat of his Valtino.

It was a classic case of ever so close, as one more bound and Valtino, raced by members of the Beak family including patriarch Ron who passed away on Tuesday night would have won and instigated emotive scenes.

Not distracting from Justin Stanley’s comeback win and his 49th for the Clinton Taylor stable, there is no doubt that only for being last away from the barriers Valtino would have won.

Raced by a swarm of owners – well that’s an exaggeration, some 15 to be exact, Zipping Irish was warmly lauded as a smiling Stanley trotted the Heroic Valour filly back to their delight.

Managing owner, Rockhampton’s C J Edmonton’s smile was, as they say, “wider than Sydney Heads “ as he and fellow owner Blair Burke received a winning memento from daughters of Gary “Pancho” Cron.

The race was named in honour of the iconic farrier Pancho who was employed by the Rockhampton Jockey Club for over 20 years until he drowned in a Stanwell flood while attempting to rescue horses in 2003.

His proud daughters Sylvia and Helen were in attendance to place a memorial plaque of their father (picturing him shoeing a horse) in the RJC Memorial Garden near the Callaghan Park entrance gates.

Multiplicity was a common factor with winners on Thursday’s seven race program.

Ryan Wiggins, riding on the crest of a lengthy winning wave, topped the table courtesy of Natalie McCall’s Struan Lad ($5.50), Jared Wehlow’s Sabor ($3.00) and John Wigginton’s Denims ($4.80).

Wigginton transformed a string of placings from bonny little Golden Archer mare Merida’s Bow (Jason Taylor, $3.70) into a win by her taking out the 0-55 Handicap (1400m).

It was back-to-back wins for the trainer tagged “Wiggo” as the preceding race successor, also by the identical 0.2 lengths margin was his Denims ($4.80) in the 0-58 Handicap (1050m).

Not forgetting that affable Gold Coast jockey Jason Taylor and his double instigated by the very honest Kerrod Smyth trained Mocial Chief ($3.00) in the Open (1100m).

Then there was resident Callaghan Park trainer Jared Wehlow who greeted his winners Sabor (Class 3, 1200m) and Tricology (NZ) ($4.80) in the BM 65 (1600m).

It was a case of misfortune for Ashley Butler who took ill after winning on Tricology (NZ) with Ryan Wiggins substituting him to win on Sabor.

It was double celebrations as well for the prolific supplier of winners, Rockhampton’s Capricornia Yearling Sale from where victors Merida’s Bow and Zipping Irish graduated from kindergarten to become high school winning racehorses.

The Rockhampton Jockey Club races again at Callaghan Park next Friday, when the heats of the Breeders Plate (1050) the first of the Rockhampton juvenile races this season are staged.

Tony McMahon

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