On the Road AGAIN with Tony McMahon.
Published 10 November 2023
Rockhampton trainer Nick Walsh leads the way in this week’s column with a two-pronged attack on Saturday’s Doomben card in Brisbane. Walsh 25, combines with in-form Brisbane hoop Justin Stanley with QUEEN ASSASSIN (Race 2 – TAB 5) and FINE SHOT (R 5 -TAB 6). Both stable runners slot into their respective races as having won both their starts back from a spell. QUEEN ASSASSIN (br m 4 Better Than Ready-Ridolfi), a $22,000 purchase at the Magic Millions March Yearling Sale contests the $75K NMW (1050m) and looks ideally placed. Drawn the rails barrier, QUEEN ASSASSIN has won her only two starts under Walsh’s care – a 0-70 BM (1050m) at Callaghan Park on October 8 and 1200m BM 70 at the same track on October 27. Originally, Walsh and his co-owners of QUEEN ASSASSIN sent the filly to be trained in Brisbane by Steven O’Dea and Matt Hoysted. Under their guardianship for seven starts, she won three races including a Doomben 3YO Maiden (1200m). However, it was in defeat that QUEEN ASSASSIN ran a bottler of a race in Brisbane. That was four starts back at Doomben on July 23, when the mare was close up fourth to Vodka Martini while GR 2 Randwick Skyline Staes placegetter Jemeldi was runner-up in the race. With those form lines and an overall record of five wins and a second from nine starts for $133,200, QUEEN ASSASSIN has winning credentials indeed.
The task ahead for unbeaten stablemate FINE SHOT (b g 3 Spieth (NZ)-You’re So Fine) does look a little more testing. Back from spelling, FINE SHOT has won on both occasions at Callaghan Park in October over both 1100m and 1200m. The gelding’s most recent on October 21 was full of merit and executed in runaway fashion by 2.02 lengths. FINE SHOT, a $30K Magic Millions March purchase last year has returned $59,900 for her syndicate of Central Queensland owners. FINE SHOT contests a $137,500 QTIS 3YO (1200m) as TAB 6 in Race 5 at Doomben. With an unblemished record of three wins from as many starts, FINE SHOT deserved considerable respect in what looks a strong race. Good luck to Nick Walsh who in a brief training career has already won two races in Brisbane from singular wins by Aleysa’s Dream and Bollente. On Saturday it is within the realms of possibility that Walsh could train his first metropolitan winning double. Good luck Nick and all the connections.
Jockey Justin Stanley, widely recognised for his winning feats at Rockhampton and on the northern circuit is continuing with his devastating form. I have written at length about Justin’s winning streak of late. At the October 27 Callaghan Park meeting he continued his list of multiple winners with a treble. However, an occurrence at Ipswich races on Thursday where Justin rode another winner for longtime supporter, the Deagon trainer Sharryn Livingstone is worthy of commentary. Justin, known to his mates as “Judda” lo and behold won on the horse named Mighty Judd. Chances are it was named after Justin. Whatever, it must have been a thrill for Justin as well as his father, the retired jockey and now trainer Peter Stanley based at Casino in NSW. Peter Stanley was a multiple premiership winning rider in the Northern Rivers on NSW. He was originally apprenticed to Theo Green at Rosehill. Justin has inherited his father’s skills in the saddle. Mighty Judd ridden by son Judda saluted on Peter Stanley’s 71st birthday on Thursday. Welcome to the club Peter and fond memories from “the travel agent” but I understand if they are not so fond for you. Only jesting but seriously take care Peter and of course “Happy Horses”.
HOOFNOTE: Just as I was completing this column, Justin Stanley rode both heat winners of the Breeders Plate at Callaghan Park (11/11).
ON THE ROAD AGAIN on Saturday, will be Rockhampton jockeys, the apprentice Brooke Johnson and senior rider Damien Boulet. This time the pair are heading west from Rockhampton some 670km to Ilfracombe where both have full books of rides. Brooke must be eligible for a “Key to the Central West” such are her regular winning riding trips out there for race meetings. Last Saturday, Brooke rode a winning treble at Barcaldine.
Stack of Rockhampton jockeys heading out to Moranbah (407km) for the big Miners Memorial race meeting on Saturday (11/11). Chris McIver, Nikki Olzard, Tash Chambers, Erin Molloy, Raul Olivera, Natalea Summers, Warwick Satherley and former Moranbah local lad Ashley Butler will make the trip. From Emerald (209km) will come apprentice Gemma Hogg who is excellent value for a four kilograms claimer. Moranbah bound from Bowen (523km) will be apprentice Gabrielle Semmens who is riding her share of winners as well. Arriving from Mackay (192km) will be heavyweight apprentice Shae Nielsen who has some important assignments for Barcaldine trainer Bevan Johnson. Not forgetting Dakota Graham from Barcaldine (438km) who has the mount on Fab’s Cowboy as he chases his 50th win. Be a massive day that’s for sure. Dedicated and selfless club secretary Bianca Bulst has taken a week off her holidays to ensure everything is “down Pat” in her duties in the week leading-up to Saturday’s races. Now that is dedication for you. Country racing administrators such as Bianca, who in the main are voluntary or in some cases willingly work for peanuts, are really the unsung heroes of racing. Rest assured Bianca will pull the padded whip on me out there on Saturday for my reporting this after she let it slip during conversation. A great day is to be had by all at Moranbah.
If you are ON THE ROAD AGAIN this weekend drive carefully – Happy Horses Tony McMahon.