Local hero Master Jamie, did the crowd proud in Saturday’s TAB Rockhampton Cup.

Published 10 July 2023

Local hero Master Jamie, did the crowd proud in Saturday’s TAB Rockhampton Cup.

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Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse spontaneously erupted around 3.42pm Saturday with racegoers from all walks of life screaming and cheering when their local hero Master Jamie did the parochial crowd proud.

Just a minute or so before you could have heard a pin drop as anticipation of what hopefully would take place before their eyes, ushered in silence.

“Hope springs eternal’ and it did just that.

The quiet hush changed in an instant 300 metres from the finish of this horse race.

That’s when under Les Tilley’s desperate riding with Master Jamie’s big heart kicking in, it became apparent that the bold front running idol was being his defiant self and was in for the fight.

Fight, Master Jamie did in his war horse like fashion, digging deep under topweight of 59.5kg to stave off his Brisbane and Gold Coast challengers to win consecutive $150,000 TAB Rockhampton Cups (1600m).

City slicker, the Barry Lockwood trained Sunfall (Warwick Satherley, $11.00) got the closest beaten 0.58 lengths while Gold Coaster Indian Dreamer (Martin Harley, $3.90 Fav) was a length back third.

Even before Tilley brought Master Jamie back to the winners’ stall, contradictory as it may read, Callaghan Park to me was in a state of “euphoric mayhem”.

The analogy best to put it succinctly into words was it was akin to the State Of Origin  Rugby League crowd’s reaction each time Queensland scores a try.

While proud and emotive Rocky trainer and managing owner Graeme Green was “wiping off tears” as he struggled making his way through the crowd, Rodney Hay owner of the runner-up said to me.

“I fear I don’t know what would have happened to me if we won the Cup with Sunfall. Isn’t he (Master Jamie) a mighty horse”, good sport Hay said.

That’s a given even long before Master Jamie joined an elite band of multiple winners of the Rockhampton Cup since its inception in 1918.

Parmspec (1920/21), Beau Drum (1960/61), Hectique (1969/70) and most recently Riva Rebel 2002/03) were back-to backers.

However, their double-headers fall short of triple Rockhampton Cup winners Rich dór (1962/63 and 68) while Hectique won consecutively in 1969/70/71) on the sand track over 10 furlongs (2000m).

Master Jamie is the only dual Rockhampton Cup winner on the turf tack run over 1600 metres and it would be akin to treason to suggest he could not win the 2024 Cup.

Graeme Green, by this time after a lapse of minutes, had made his way through the throng to  the winner’s stall to greet Master Jamie and his ecstatic jockey Les Tilley who was standing high in the irons and waving his whip to the crowd.

Besieged by hand shakers and back slappers, Green an emotional man was understandingly lost for words.

“I can’t put into words how I feel”, he said overcome by the reality of what has just taken place.

Some 24 hours later when I contacted Graeme he could.

“This horse (Master Jamie) has done so much for us and means the world to me and what he has done for my family is amazing. He has cemented for us an indelible friendship with the other part owners in him, Ron and Bev White, who have had horses with me for a long time. They are like parent figures to my wife Julie and me and like grandparents to our children. Master Jamie is an unbelievable horse”, Graeme said.

Astute and refreshingly modest, Green has always downplayed his role in purchasing Master Jamie (b g 6 Poet’s Voice-Verkko x Flying Spur) for just $10K from Magic Millions on March 2, 2018, training him to become the winner of near million status.

Now, Master Jamie is an 18 times winner and with 20 placings he has won $935,525 in prize money.

It was Les Tilley’s third Rockhampton Cup win as apart from Master Jamie’s wins, he also won on Mamselle Corday in 2018.

Tilley and Green had a field day on Saturday bringing- up trebles through earlier wins  of Shamedy and Top Spy.

Just when you would have thought Cup Day could not have gotten any better for Green it did when RJC CEO Ian Mill awarded him the $5000 cash bonus for being the most successful Carnival local trainer.

Green admitted to a quiet night on Saturday at home with family enjoying a “few scotches”.

No celebrations for Les “Bubba” Tilley as he flew back to Brisbane on Saturday night and rode a winning double at Grafton (NSW) 949kl south of Rockhampton less than 24 hours after his Rockhampton Cup day to remember.


Tony McMahon.

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