Racing AROUND Capricornia with Tony McMahon.

Published 9 November 2023

Racing AROUND Capricornia with Tony McMahon.

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Over to Callaghan Park, Rockhampton tomorrow (Friday) for what traditionally is known as the Breeders 2YO Plate Race Day. Once both heats of the Breeders Plate (1050m) previously Carlton Plate were “THE” 2YO feature races on and around Rockhampton in the early juvenile season. That’s because prize money for the two divisions of the Carlton 2YO Plate – fillies and mares and colts and geldings was far greater than the majority of races for such youngsters in Rockhampton with the exception of the D.C. Nissan Motors 2YO and later on of course the Capricornia Yearling Sales 2YO Classic. That went out the door with, as I have previously commented, the arrival of the QTIS bonus system whereby trainers can get almost the equal of the Breeders Plate prize money all year around at Callaghan Park. Remember the Sunday 2YO trials at Callaghan Park a fortnight or so before the Carlton Pate? I do as I broadcast them for years. They were packed with youngsters, and it was almost like a race meeting. Considering that there are greater numbers of yearlings every year coming to Rockhampton now, the explanation I have offered is the only sound reason for the Breeders Plate now attracting only minimal attention from trainers and owners. There is no longer a rush to get the babies up and going early and connections have become more patient. In the long run that is a good thing as the majority of yearlings sold do not make “early 2yo’s”. For instance, when the nominations closed on Monday for both divisions of the Breeders Plate only five youngsters were entered for both. Noms were extended and another one came into both races, and each will contain six going to the barriers on Friday. It may just be that from future years only one division of the Breeders Plate will be scheduled whereby the males and female’s clash. If that came to fruition naturally the set weights would apply whereby the fillies get a weight allowance. It is food for thought but would the prize money pool for the 2YO fillies, as it now occurs, be added to the stakes for the single Breeders Plate? Currently both divisions carry basic prize money each of $35K plus QTIS bonuses. So, if the races amalgamate, would the purse become $70,000?  It is all hypothetical of course but interesting to ponder all the same. We all know “that nothing lasts forever”. In the 6th Century BCE, the ancient Greek Philosopher Heraclitus wrote “the only thing permanent in life is change”. In racing parlance that means “the greatest certainty in life is change”. Could well be the case for the Breeders 2YO Plate in Rockhampton in 2024 and for mine makes a lot more sense especially from the life blood barometer of “betting turnover” as it would likely attract a big field. Time will tell! Some owners may not agree with my hypothesis, but it is far better than having both small fields, such is the case tomorrow being at the risk of being scrapped. As I said, food for thought!

It was a case of poetic justice last Tuesday at Mackay races when local trainer Tracy Simmons won three races courtesy of Shadow Goddess (Ashley Butler), Lucia Maria and Nuke both ridden by Gabrielle Semmens. Earlier the same afternoon 440km south Simmons trained Act Of Royalty (Tash Chambers) prevailed in a narrow win over Tracy’s brother John Manzelmann’s horse Harcashion (Jade Doolan). You didn’t have to be a “rocket scientist” to work out from watching the race, it may have occasioned a false start, so much so as the announcer I told patrons to “hold your tickets if you have had a bet in the race”. I did this of my own volition as from being a former “four eyed stipe” I believe I can read a race as well as the best of them. The jockeys of the placegetters didn’t even bother riding their horses into the place getters stalls which virtually said it all. Confusion followed while stewards adjudicated for 25 minutes before declaring the race “void”- in other words a “no race”. Chairman of stewards on the day Hayden Gillett asked each of the six jockeys who rode in the race “did the start have any material effect on your horse’s performance. Naturally when put to winning rider Tash Chambers and runner-up Jade Doolan, the answer was always going to be a certain “no”. Fair enough, I envisage as far as the two jockeys were concerned “hope springs eternal” as from what I saw the result of a “no race” was always going to be a “no brainer”. Gillett is to be congratulated along with supervising steward Gary Meek for earlier rescheduling the local Gladstone card to be put back by about 25 minutes after a rescue float was sent to bring three horses to the course. The truck they were in en route from Miles broke down at Calliope. Springing into action was race club president Davis Weinert as he hooked up a three-horse float and went to the rescue. Good decision all round as a break down or mishap is always on the cards when travelling horses. Similarly at Mackay on Tuesday the races were put back about two hours. The Bruce Highway south was blocked for some considerable time through a serious road accident. Horses, jockeys and trainers Mackay bound from Rockhampton were stranded on the highway. Stewards Nathan Suli and Tate Hudson to their credit put the races back until all and sundry had arrived. Well done all concerned and as I have always said I give credit where credit is due.

Speaking of the sister and brother trainers Tracy Simmons and John Manzelmann, they have a stack of runners between them at the Moranbah Miner’s race meeting on Saturday. Not forgetting of course their cousin the Mackay trainer Joshua Manzelmann. The trio will start 21 horses between them of the 44 race acceptors. However, they will have considerable opposition from the likes of Rockhampton trainers Darryl Johnson, Tim Cook and Peter Fleming as well as Emerald’s Glenda Bell and Raymond Williams and Barcaldine’s Bevan Johnson. The feature race the $13.5K Racing Queensland Country Stampede Qualifier (1170m) is a ripper. I have just got a sneaky suspicion that the old marvel, Bevan Johnson’s Fab’s Cowboy gets his best chance of ending a 12-run losing sequence and notch up his long awaited 50th win on Saturday at Moranbah.  Fab’s Cowboy, a sprightly 12YO has won three from five starts at Moranbah. In all the “’old cowboy” has raced on 146 occasions for 49 wins 30 seconds and 12 thirds for over $400K prize money. His stablemate Han Dynasty (15 wins), the new kid on the block looks the likely winner on form in what is a very tough race. That’s because the eight-horse field has accrued 97 wins and earned $1.6 million in stakes. Not bad, not bad at all for Moranbah.  Naturally the winner of the Stampede Qualifier will automatically qualify for the $105,000 OMWL2Y (111Om) at Doomben on Saturday, December 2.  On the criteria of field sizes and indeed quality, it will be the biggest and best race meeting that Moranbah has staged in “donkeys’ years”.   

Speaking of which, (Brisbane final) so too will the Ian Prizeman Gladstone trained Svindal which won the Gladstone Turf Club’s equivalent race last Tuesday. It was a mighty 3.25 lengths win under 58kg and Rocky jockey Warwick Satherley. Unquestionably, Svindal is the most versatile and resilient horse doing the rounds in Capricornia. Last Tuesday Svindal (b g 7 Albretch-Magistra x Swiss Ace) shattered a long-standing track record for 1000 metres at Gladstone. His trainer Ian Prizeman has to be congratulated as with the deepest respect Svindal’s lead-up prep for the sprint was unorthodox. We’ll go back to September 30, shall we just over five weeks before last Tuesday’s 1000m win? On Sept 30 Svindal was fourth of nine at Mackay over 1560m. Nine days later on Oct 9 he won a Rocky 900 metres trial. Five days later on Oct 14 he ran third in the Emerald 1850 metres Emerald 100. Then nine days later back to Rocky on Oct 23 for a third in a 900 metres trial. Two days after that on October 25, Svindal ran last of nine over 1800 metres at Eagle Farm. Then 13 days later he wins the big 1000m qualifier at Gladstone. Svindal has raced six times on his home track at Ferguson Park, Gladstone for four wins and two placings. In all he has had 57 starts for 12 wins and 14 placings from 850 metres to 1850 metres. I remarked as he was parading on Tuesday, just how well Svindal presented. Later winning jockey Warwick Satherley also commented along those lines. “He is a good horse, a really good horse and what’s more he looks like one as well”, Warwick said. Obviously Svindal is a gross doer who thrives on racing and training. Whatever way you asses it, trainer Ian Prizeman “knows his horse” as Svindal’s record attests and Tuesday’s win was further proof. Satherley rode a winning treble there by also scoring on Damien Rideout’s, Thangool trained Jellishot and Gladtone trainer Denis Schultz’s Miss Rinehart. A Kiwi he along with another import the South American jockey, Raul Olivera, will be in action at Callaghan Park on Friday and Treasure Park, Moranbah on Saturday.

Happy Horses, Tony McMahon and hope to see you all ON THE ROAD AGAIN soon. 

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