On the Road AGAIN with Tony McMahon.

Published 18 August 2023

On the Road AGAIN with Tony McMahon.

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Buckle up everyone as we are ON THE ROAD AGAIN with our intrepid Rockhampton racing stakeholders. Our first port of call will be Brisbane’s Doomben racecourse where Callaghan Park trainers Tom Smith, John Wigginton, Clinton Taylor and Nick Walsh have starters booked. Smith has last start Brisbane winner ACRES AWAY (R 3 -TAB 1, Jimmy Orman) and earlier in the first race there IT’S GERRY (TAB 15, Melea Castle). ACRES AWAY has a grand strike rate of four wins from five outings. Last start under Les Tilley, ACRES AWAY  carried 58kg winning over 1200m at Ascot (Eagle Farm). He is awkwardly drawn at 8 out of 10 barrier but has the right man on top in Orman. John Wigginton’s IN EVIDENCE (TAB 2) clashes again with Smith’s horse. “Bit unfortunate to come down here and run in to ACRES AWAY after he beat us so easily at Mackay recently. Anyhow my fellow Hank (IN EVIDENCE) as done well and should go well, Wigginton said from his Hendra base this morning. IN EVIDENCE will meet ACRES AWAY three kilograms better at the weights for his 2.5l defeat at that Mackay clash and of course both have won since. Definitely, not just a two-horse race with seven of the ten-horse field being winners. Wigginton will also start Matty (SIDEARM R 9 – TAB 16) in the BM 75 (1350m) with Georgina Cartwright to ride. SIDEARM has been a constant ON THE ROAD AGAIN traveller. After a Callaghan Park win on July 7, John travelled with him to Brisbane for a 3.27l 7th/12 Orbisyn on July 22. SIDEARM stayed on there with trainer Brian Wakefield and disappointed “’on paper” when 6.29l 9th/10 Hokahey 1400m Eagle Farm NMW Aug 5. SIDEARM came back to Wigginton’s Callaghan Park stables after that and has obviously pleased him to have made the float trip down to Brisbane again on Thursday. “He mainly made the trip as a travelling companion for IN EVIDENCE, but his last start Brisbane run was better than it looked”, Wiggo said. Naturally after writing racing on and off for about 55 years, curiosity got the better of me as to why Les (Bubba) Tilley wasn’t riding ACRES AWAY. On the Al Capone, I put it to him “they took me off”, larrakin Les said before adding “I got suspended in the first and only race at Lismore (Aug 7). The suspension for a week is in effect now”, Tilley said. 

After a frustrating run-of wide barriers which in part lead to her scratching from the Cleveland Bay in Townsville last week, Clinton Taylor’s PRINCESS TENKO (R 2 -TAB 1) has finally found a good barrier in gate 3 at Doomben. The astute Clinton jumped in quickly to book very talented apprentice jockey Bailey Wheeler 18, who has ridden 132 winners in a very short time. His 3kg claim brings PRINCESS TENKO in with 57kg a weight well withing her winning scope. By the way Taylor produced a very slick winning debutant in PAPASTIO (b g 3 Better Than Ready-Hearts ‘and Diamonds x Show A Heart) which ran flying time at Callaghan Park on Thursday. “’Ï backed my own judgement and paid $120,000 for him as a Magic Millions yearling. Some very good clients came into him with me, and he is very talented but has some quirks”’. Hope you took this writer’s tip after anybody who witnessed his Keppel Park trial win on August 7 and an earlier one at Callaghan Park would have backed the horse last Thursday. I gave out the good oil in a column on this site last week. Take the tip PAPASTIO is very special. I hear you saying any other tips for ON THE ROAD AGAIN readers. Yes, the Taylor stablemate STAVANGER (b m 5 Redoute’s Choice-Zastava) formerly from Team Hawkes looked brilliant to me winning a Keppel Park trial the same day in fractionally slower time. Clinton will be ON THE ROAD AGAIN for the 335km trip to Mackay on Tuesday with STARVANGER (R 2- TAB 12) where although precariously drawn it should win. If not, it will the start after that and bring in some fuel money for your own road trips. 

Last but no means least, having made the road trip to Doomben for Saturday is Nick Walsh’s 15 times winner BOLLENTE (R 4 -TAB 1).  He followed excellent fourths to ROMAN AUREUS and DOCTOR ZOUS in the Rocky/Mackay Newmarket’s with 2.45l 6th/8 Stampe 1400m Eagle Farm Open Aug 5. The hurdles facing BOLLENTE are his 59KG weight and wide draw. It is not an overly strong race, but he has to concede between 5kg and 7kg to the other dozen acceptors. It has never been easy and never will be easy to win a restricted race in Brisbane with 59kg. Fit, well freshened and contesting his favourite trip 1600m (4 wins) BOLLENTE has to loom large. Infrequent Bruce Highway travelling Rockhampton trainer Adrian Coome went very close to winning there last Saturday with ENUFF HE SAID finishing third at $16 beaten less than a length. Safe bet Adrian will be ON THE ROAD AGAIN soon with that cove seeking recompense.

Frequent ON THE ROAD AGAIN traveller is Rocky mentor Jared Wehlow. Last weekend Jared won races at Gladstone (Cup -KOBI ROCKS) and at Townsville with O’MUDGEE, centres 825km apart. That is nothing to the young Rockhampton trainer’s exploits this weekend as he will have starters at both Gympie and Cairns which are 1530kms away from each other. At Gympie he starts SHEZA FLYER (NZ), BRIGHT TIARA and sand track king KOBI ROCKS (Cup). The latter is going for the sand crowning treble after Bundaberg and Gladstone Cup wins on that surface. At the TAB Cairns meeting Jared runs READY BY DESIGN (R 4 – TAB 1) and GOLDSCHLAGER (R 9 -TAB 4). Ryan Wiggins rides both. There was no driving for Jared on Thursday as his Callaghan Park winners DOOM DIVA and CUSACK only had to be led across from their on-course stables. Different story this coming Tuesday when Wehlow will be ON THE ROAD AGAIN for a round trip drive of 670km with five starters at the Mackay TAB’S. So too for fellow Callaghan Park trainer Peter Fleming after he starts FORTIFIED (NZ) (R 3 -TAB 6) at Cairns while having starters at Mackay also. Rocky jockey Ash Butler has five good rides at Cairns including Caloundra trainer Darryl Hansen’s NQ specialist DOCTOR ZOUS (R 8-TAB 1) in the $75K Newmarket there. 

Other Callaghan Park stakeholders including trainer Tim Cook and his apprentice Erin Molloy who took a tumble at the trials at Callaghan Park today (Friday) head to Bowen races for the Ben Bolt Cup on Saturday. So does Brooke Johnson.  Others including apprentice Nikki Olzard will be chasing a treble at Dingo races after completing that feat at Longreach last Saturday. Congratulations to all the travelling Rocky trainers and jockeys for their Townsville successes last Saturday.

Regrettable to report some local stakeholders won’t be ON THE ROAD AGAIN for some time. Trainer Jamie McConachy was flown to Brisbane and underwent heart surgery yesterday (Thursday). Premier apprentice Tahlia Fenlon had another three days stint in a Brisbane Hospital earlier this week for severe stomach pains which she said remain a mystery. Less than a fortnight ago Tahia underwent surgery there for appendicitis. Rocky jockey-trainer Tasha Chambers tested her left-hand injury at the Callaghan Park trials this morning but “pulled up “s  ore. About a month ago Tash injured the hand in a freak accident pre-race at Callaghan Park. A resilient woman, Tash looks like being out of action for at least a few more weeks. “I’m used to that, but I’ll be back”, Tash said and indeed she will. 

 Please don’t forget the appeal for seriously injured Rockhampton trainer John Poots. All details are on the Callaghan Park website and Facebook page. While the response to the ATA appeal through Cameron Partington has been very encouraging, it has been disappointing to date from the Rockhampton area. Come on please everyone respectfully dig in and pay-up and do Rocky proud in helping out John and Louise Poots. They would be the first to do it for you if the role was reversed.

HAPPY HORSES – Tony McMahon and see you all again somewhere soon ON THER ROAD AGAIN.

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