On the Road Again by Tony McMahon.

Published 26 July 2023

On the Road Again by Tony McMahon.

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Introducing the first edition of a new column written by Tony McMahon and titled ON THE ROAD AGAIN designed to keep the Rockhampton racing public updated on the movements of horses to and from the region.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN was exactly what was occurring when I caught up with trainer Graeme Green heading down the Bruce Highway some 630km to Brisbane. Accompanying Graeme on the float trip were his horses Shamedy and Thisland Is Myland. Both run at Eagle Farm races on Saturday. Shamedy in the 2YO Handicap (1400m from barrier 7) and Thisland Is Myland in the QTIS Plate 1200m. ‘’Ï am confident they will both go well. The two-year-old (Shamedy) has a tricky gate and had he drawn in closer I would have been very happy. I would still like to think he could win”, Graeme said. On the prospects of Thisland Is Myland (only beaten some 3l last start in the Rocky Newmarket) “’on times has a very good chance on Saturday”, Green said while being very upbeat. “He is a very good horse who has had not much luck recently. He has been right up there with the good horses”, he said. A perfectionish, Green explained he left a day early on the trip south on Wednesday so as Shamedy as a bad traveller could settle in better in Brisbane. Les Tilley rides both horses. Had to ask Graeme how Rocky Cup winner Master Jamie was training. ‘’He is jumping out of his skin and honestly, I could not be happier. He runs next in Townsville Cleveland Bay (1300m) on August 12.

PETER FLEMING makes the 1064km trip, about 12 hours- plus by road from Callaghan Park to start both last start winner Tahkian Bubbles and Sergeant Pride at Canon Park racecourse there this Thursday, July 27. It’s a long trip pulling a horse float (not literally) as take it from me as I have done it. So, I am sure Peter is just not going for the fun of it – believe me there is no fun in it at all.  Both his starters are to be ridden by the Sunshine Coast journeyman jockey Adam Sewell and given the geography of the long-haul, Fleming must believe both horses are real live chances.

CLINTON TAYLOR who notches up about just as many kilometers on the highways up and down Queensland as long haulage transport drivers do, is ON THE ROAD AGAIN this weekend. Most likely Clinton heads north the 717km to Townsville where he has a trio of starters. Among them is the very smart Honkytonk Dancer (Warwick Satherley) in the Ladies Bracelet (1300m). Looks like an ideal race for her and the smart girl should take a power of beating. Clinton will also have at least three starters at the Bundaberg Cup meeting (287km) on Saturday as well including Attackabeel and Russian Whisper. Talented stable apprentice Brooke Johnson, back from nasty nose injury courtesy of a horse while riding trackwork, will ride the Bundy team. As for Princess Tenko which travelled extremely wide throughout after leaving barrier 15 only to be beaten 2.3l 7th/16 behind Release The Beans at Doomben last Saturday, Clinton understandably was very complimentary. “Thought it was a terrific run given she was three wide at least throughout the race. She has recovered well and heads to Townsville for the Cleveland Bay”. What did I tell you folks – Clinton Taylor is always ON THE ROAD AGAIN. 

JARED WEHLOW is another Callaghan Park trainer who clocks up the odd mile or two with his ponies. He has four entries for the big Townsville meeting on Saturday. They are Ready By Design, Unassailable, Stella Reach and Simply Better. Keep them in mind and remember Rockhampton trainers have a very impressive winning strike rate when they travel up to Townsville. Even better mind you at Mackay. 

JOHN WIGGINTON’S recent Rockhampton dual winner Sidearm was only beaten 3.27 lengths when 7th/12 Orbisyn at Doomben last Saturday. John felt it best to leave Sidearm in Brisbane where his next start will be at Eagle Farm on August 5. “It’s pretty hard on them travelling back and forth from Rockhampton to Brisbane between runs every few weeks. I transferred him over to Brian Wakefield down there. It is much better for the horse at this stage”, John said. John is the managing owner of Sidearm with a number of friends and long-time stable clients. Good horse sense and makes sense to me.

TOM BUTTON is another trainer we claim as our own, given he won numerous Callaghan Park premierships before shifting to SEQ. A stack of Tom and co-trainer Ryan Tyrell’s horses are Rockhampton owned in full or part. These include last Saturday’s Mackay MM Guineas winner Cocobrew Express which has recovered from the thought of heavyweight part owner Robin Adams ‘” tongue in cheek remark” of planning to ride the horse. Cocobrew Express runs next at Townsville in the $93K Guineas (1609m) on August 6. Button won’t be travelling the horse the 1430km from his Gold Coast Hinterland base to Townsville but just a mere 200km. What do you mean, I hear you asking? “I am up here at Bowen with a stable of eight horses. It’s a good set up here and the club has been very good to us. Bowen is right in the middle of the northern tracks”, Tom said and I heartly agree. As for Jemeldi which only went down a long neck when second at Doomben last Saturday? “He’s back home and he is in a really good spot this prep and has his foot on the till for another city win”, Tom enthused. Jemeldi has a stack of Rockhampton owners alongside his name. Yep, there will be one hell of a party at CocoBrew in William Street, Rockhampton when he wins in Brisbane with his next start planned for August 12.

ALAN JONES, MARK COCHRANE, JOHN WIGGINTON, DARRYL JOHNSTON & KRISTIE CLARK-PEOPLES all Callaghan Park trainers have runners entered for the Middlemount races on Saturday just a “hop, skip and jump away” at 277km. Personally I wouldn’t miss the top day of upbeat country racing for quids.

 Well ladies and gentlemen that’s the first edition of ON THE ROAD AGAIN and I am exhausted from just writing about all these trips the horses and trainers from Rockhampton are making. Time for a grandpa nap.

Pleasant dreams and safe travels – Tony McMahon.

HOOFNOTE: ON THE ROAD AGAIN has been the name of a number of horses throughout the world over the last five decades. The Australian horse On The Road Again raced in Central Queensland and Rockhampton from the mid to late eighties. It was trained by Noel Coyne at Emerald and later for memory by Allan Jenkinson at Yeppoon and won numerous races (17 rings a bell?) when owned by the great racing men including John Millroy and Rockhampton’s Garry James and Emerald’s Margaret Coyne. By far the most illustrious ON THE ROAD AGAIN was the Canadian pacer foaled in 1981 a cleverly named son of a mum named Happy Motoring. In that era of prize money massively down on today’s, he won $2.8m and 44 races. Indeed, both horses were worth the effort of being ON THE ROAD AGAIN.    

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