On the Road AGAIN with Tony McMahon.

Published 28 September 2023

On the Road AGAIN with Tony McMahon.

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Comeback Rockhampton jockey Dale Evans hasn’t wasted any time in getting back ON THE ROAD AGAIN. Dale returned from a four-year hiatus at Keppel Park, Yeppoon on Tuesday with just the one ride for a strong finishing third on Kerry Smyth’s DIVINE KAMEHALANI in the Maiden (1200m). Watching he has lost none of his ability. That horse by the way looks a likely winner over further very soon. Tomorrow (Thursday) Evans has rides some 717km away at Townsville. The Cluden track there is one at which Dale has hidden 62 winners. His rides are UNPUNISHED (R2 – TAB 14); PRINCE AKEEM (R3 -TAB 9); WANNA TWEET (R5 -TAB 12) and FAMILY STAR (R6 -TAB 7). Rocky jockey Ashley Butler, with 65 Townsville wins on his CV, has five rides on the program. Look up your guides and also local apprentice Tahlia Fenlon has a book of five Townsville rides. From what I could determine there are no Rockhampton trainers ON THE ROAD AGAIN going that way for the program, which is unusual these days.

That is certainly not the case at the Mackay TAB six events program on Saturday some 335km north of Rockhampton. Callaghan Park trainers Clinton Taylor, Jessica Kuhn, Kerrod Smyth, Tim Cook, Jared Wehlow and Dale Whyte will float 10 horses to the venue. The $35K Mackay NQ QTIS 3&4YO Classic (1800m) has certainly drawn their attention. Listed as Race 5, Cook runs ENTERPRISE PHOENIX (TAB 4): Taylor BRAND NEW (NZ) (TAB 5); Wehlow DOOMVIVA (TAB 10) and Whyte starts TELMESOMETHIN’GIRL (TAB 12). The horse to beat is that of former Callaghan Park premier trainer Garnett Taylors Sunshine Coaster BOLD HUSSAR (TAB 1.) Stablemate the debutant BOLD TONTO (R 2 – TAB 2) also has to be respected with top hoop Ryan Wiggins also piloting it. BOLD TONTO trialed well recently at Corbould Park. I won’t be at least surprised if Garnett has to play second fiddle with BOLD TONTO to his son Clinton Taylor trained AMRAP (NZ) a first starter for the stable with good provincial NSW form lines.

No surprises either that resident Mackay trainer John Manzelmann will start 14 horses at his local meeting on Saturday. At least John, arguably Queensland’s most travelled trainer with his ON THE ROAD AGAIN exploits will only have to travel a few kilometres from his Mackay stables which are close to the coast. Last weekend’s results were corkers for John and his band of blue silked horses. At Twins Hills on the Friday and Saturday he started 16 horses in total for five winners. Accordingly, he won the $1200 cash provided by the race club for the most successful trainer over the two days of racing which attracted a massive crowd.  Emerald trainer Glenda Bell gave John a good run for the money training three winners. Much further north on the same two days, the JM stable started nine horses and won four races at Ewan and once again collected a prize of $1000 for the most winners. John Manzelmann oversees a massive training operation with up to 40 horses in work. At the risk of being repetitive country racing and TAB provincial racing in this neck of the woods and further afield are indebted for John’s support. He deserves every success he gets as he works very hard for it. A survivor of what was classified as terminal leukemia in 2007, John Manzelmann defied the odds and has been doing so ever since with his thoroughbreds. Racing’s gain with having such a prolific supplier of starters through John Manzelmann in the main came about after the demise of harness racing in Rockhampton (1974-2007), Mackay and further north. John Manzelmann and most of his family were highly successful in harness racing and he drove numerous winners at the old Callaghan Park Paceway. The attached photograph which appeared in The Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton on February 16, 1995, is of John Manzelmann the reinsman winning at the Callaghan Park Paceway on Willy Dazzle. It had three wins from as many drives for John that day, so nothing has really changed in that department with his subsequent transition to thoroughbreds. HOOFNOTE 1: In journalism you learn to check and then recheck your facts. Lucky, I did as I didn’t realise that the Manzelmann team WILL be ON THE ROAD AGAIN this Saturday. Apart from their local runners at Mackay, a Manzelmann truck will haul seven horses to run at the Innisfail races which is just a round trip up and back to their Mackay stables of 1300km. Does John Manzelmann ever sleep? Clearly his organisational skills assisted by partner and apprentice Jade Doolan are second to none.

 Congratulations to rookie Emerald apprentice Gemma Hogg on riding her first winner Levalet at Twin Hills last Saturday. Of course, it was trained by John Manzelmann. It came about as Gemma’s fifth race ride while only kicking off at Twin Hills the day before. Rocky apprentices excelled at Twin Hills with Brooke Johnson claiming four winners, McKenzie Apel two and Erin Molloy another. Senior Rocky jockey but the very trendy lady Natalea Summers also rode a winner appropriately for the Mayoress of Emerald Racing, Glenda Bell. Rockhampton jockey Damien Boulet was the only male to ride a winner over the 10 races. Looks like only the one Rockhampton trained galloper doing the rounds in Brisbane at Eagle Farm on Saturday being the Nick Walsh trained BOLLENTE (R 8-TAB 4). He has been freshened by water walking there since his last start failure in the Big Smoke. Let’s hope BOLLENTE can redeem himself as he is too good a horse to give up on after only one disappointing effort of late. Nearly forgot, well done to Callaghan Park apprentice Nikki Olzard for her double at the Longreach Cup meeting last Saturday. Also, to Clermont jockey Emma Bell on a winning double – one winner of which BURDEN claimed the $25K Longreach Cup (1600m). Rocky trainer Krystie Clark-People landed one winner DISPUTE out there but narrowly missed winning the Cup by a mere centimeter. CENTAUR won the race last year. From where I sit feel CENTAUR may now be suited by the Emerald 100 (1850m) in a fortnight. Hope the overseas jockey Raul Silvera Olivera starts getting more race rides now that he is becoming better known at Callaghan Park. See where he will be riding the Lyle Wright trained GRANT’S PATCH (R1 – TAB 1) at Mackay on Saturday. The horse is owned by the Hall family from Graceville Thoroughbreds who had a big hand in getting the accomplished South American jockey out to Rockhampton. 

HOOFNOTE 2 at 1.30pm Thursday:  Just read the final jockeys declarations for Mackay on Saturday. Travelling Rockhampton jockeys Ashley Butler and Dale Evans will be ON THE ROAD AGAIN back from riding at Townsville on Friday to compete at Mackay the next day. Just remembered Dale Evans rode at Gladstone one Saturday some years back and drove from there through the night to ride at Cairns the next day. Not a bad effort of about a 1200km drive of 14 hours. For memory I believe fellow jockey Adrian Coome shared the driving with Dale. 

HAPPY HORSES Tony McMahon.   

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