On the Road AGAIN with Tony McMahon.

Published 11 August 2023

On the Road AGAIN with Tony McMahon.

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Here we go again folks on the highways and byways with our Rockhampton racing stakeholders for another report of ON THE ROAD AGAIN. Didn’t the guys and gals, that is the Rockhampton based stakeholders – jockeys and trainers cover some kilometres since the last column? They sure did so before reading on have an educated guess. It’s a bit like those road safety signs you see along the highways, with questions and then answers a few kilometres further on. They read along the lines of “Trivia games may save your life”. Bear in mind Rockhampton was represented by stake holders at Richmond (apprentice Erin Molloy) and Brisbane (2 trainers last Saturday); Townsville (6 trainers, I jockey last Sunday) and multiple stakeholders of course at Mackay races on Tuesday (8 trainers, 6 jockeys). Ready? According to my math’s, horses, trainers and jockeys covered just over 16,500km in return road trips to Rockhampton!

Of course, the most successful were the youthful combination of trainer Thomas Smith and owners Mitchell and Anna Power who tasted their first metropolitan success with ACRES AWAY. The Power’s home bred (ch g 3 Top Echelon-Hoywedge x Chosir) claimed the $73K winner’s purse when jockey Les Tilley brought him with run between horses to win the QTIS 3YO (1200m) at Eagle Farm. That made it four wins (3 Mackay) and a Rocky third from five starts for $142,875 in stakes which included $51.2K in QTIS bonus prizemoney. Mitchell Power bred ACRES AWAY from his Chosir mare Hoywedge a winner of four races in Rockhampton under trainers Bill Kenning and Tim Cook. He raced her in partnership with among others, his father Scott the Central Highlands race caller. Mitchell planned to send the colt (ACRES AWAY) to Magic Millions to sell at a March sale, but fate played its part. Mitchell takes up the story. “He got injured as a weanling cutting himself on the cannon bone. Anna and I reasoned because of the scarring he probably wouldn’t attract a bid at the sales. So, we decided to keep him and race him ourselves”. Mitchell, a competent horseman also broke the colt in himself. What a fortuitous decision, as Lady Luck certainly played a role there. Personally, I’ve always been a believer that “from something bad comes something good” and ACRES AWAY is proof of the pudding. The win was the first for trainer Thomas Smith and the Powers in Brisbane. Thomas 22 is the son of Rocky trainer Fred and wife Karen. I believe Rockhampton’s Fred was 57 when he won his first city race with Motorised in Brisbane, on January 18, 2014. Thomas, Mitchell 32 and wife Anna 28 are the new generation of racing stakeholders in Rockhampton. I remember a conversation I and others with Magic Millions CEO at the time David Chester some years ago. “Rockhampton is so lucky to have so many young trainers rising through the ranks”. How true David. At the risk of overlooking one or two I won’t list them but there are quite a number. ACRES AWAY and Thomas, Mitchell and Anna are likely ON THE ROAD AGAIN, bound for Brisbane with on August 19 or 26 for another QTIS 3YO QTIS Handicap. Would not surprise me if Scott and wife Dee Power may also make the trip and who knows, maybe even Fred and Karen Smith as well. Oh, what a night if ACRES AWAY won again.

While on the subject of overlooking these roving Rocky trainers, I apologise to trainer Jamie McConachy and the Halls from Graceville Thoroughbreds for not including them all and their “you beaut” CITY MISSION as trekking the 717km to Townsville last Sunday. I remember telling you folks I flat out keeping up with all the travelers. Anyhow to the CITY MISSION crew sincere congratulations for the win in the $75K Magic Millions Townsville Guineas (1609m). CITY MISSION (br m 4 The Mission-Alexandra Gardens x Royal Academy) has now won $163K with more to come all being well. Please don’t jump to conclusions, none of the connections contacted me to advise of my remission, I found it myself and typical Murphy’s Law – the only trainer I missed listing was the only one of the six from Callaghan Park who won a race at Townsville. Jamie McConachy is enjoying a winning run with his team – well done. 

Much too smart to get caught out again this week in ON THE ROAD AGAIN listing the names of the trainers from here heading up to the mammoth Townsville card for the Cup/Cleveland Bay meeting on an 11-race program on Saturday.  Six Rocky trainers will be represented with 21 acceptors part of the whopping 203 horses declared to run. YES, you read correctly – 203. Where the hell are they going to put them all?  You would think that an 11-race card would be a first for Townsville. Not correct as the ever-helpful RQ’s Colin Truscott recalls an 11-race program at Cluden in August 2020. Townsville has a huge drawing pool for horses trained there and in the Tablelands. The bigger feeder clubs have horses galore in training to draw on. It is exactly the opposite in the Capricornia region. As is said “it is what it is”. The acceptors for the $100K Cleveland Bay Sprint (1300m) were so plentiful that a consolation is being run. Rockhampton trainer Graeme Green’s champion MASTER JAMIE has encountered the barrier hoodoo once more drawing gate 13 in Cleveland Bay. Seemingly as his last start wide draw Rocky Cup win proved, all barriers come alike to MASTER JAMIE. Graeme Green is confident of a second Cleveland Bay win by Jamie to take his earnings over the magical million-dollar mark. After the outside barrier in Brisbane robbed Clinton Taylor’s PRINCESS TENKO victory at her last start, lightning has struck twice as she has copped 17 barrier in the Cleveland Bay. Ricky Vale’s grand stayer NAMAZU has drawn 19 in the $150K Townsville Cup (2100m). Worse still Jared Wehlow’s Cup runner QUALITY ASSET drew 20 in the Cup.  Mark Cochrane wasn’t spared either with BERING SEA having to cop 14. Talk about “visitors draw “being in play. Other Callaghan Park runners at Townsville have drawn wide gates such as 11, 12, 13, 14, 17 and 21. Kevin Miller, however, was in luck as his Cleveland Bay starter ISIS CARMELLA drew barrier 3.  It will be ridden by Victorian jockey Harry Grace, 24 who has ridden 158 winners. Harry won’t be ON THE ROAD AGAIN as he has been this week riding at Victorian provincial week, as naturally, he will be flying to Townsville for a number of rides. John Manzelmann has been able to secure senior Townsville jockey Graham Kliese to replace Rocky apprentice Tahlia Fenlon (recovering from surgery) on top Cup hopeful SAVVY LEGEND.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN was Callaghan Park trainer Adrian Coome with his Brisbane starter on Saturday in ENUFF HE SAID (Race 9 – TAB 8) at Eagle Farm. Looks like it’s Adrian’s first float trip with a horse to Brisbane since February 18 when Alloutatime failed there. Quite a few Rocky trainers, horses and jockeys are going on a little road trip to Gladstone on Saturday for the Gladstone Cup. Will be a massive day at Ferguson Park racecourse and may I highly recommend it to you.

The ON THE ROAD AGAIN award this week goes to Callaghan Park trainer Tim Cook and his talented apprentice jockey Erin Molloy. Last Friday they trekked with horses to Townsville to race there on Sunday. On Saturday, Tim drove his apprentice Erin to Richmond races where she rode a winner. They left Townsville after Sundays races and arrived back in Rockhampton at 3am Monday morning. Five hours later they were at Keppel Park racecourse Yeppoon for the barriers trials that morning which commenced around 9am. I said to Tim there “You must be sick of travelling “and he stunned me with his reply. “After I get back to Rocky this morning, I will leave this afternoon with the horses to start in Mackay tomorrow (Tuesday)”. Sure, Tim Cook did and good for him won a race there with Dr Neight. From the previous Friday and including the drive up to Townsville, Richmond and Yeppoon he would have clocked up about 2946km with horses. Not a bad effort for four days! I was tired after driving the 76km to Keppel Park and back after calling the trials!

Happy Horses, I’m off for a grandpa nap – Tony McMahon. 

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