Racing AROUND CQ with Tony McMahon.

Published 14 December 2022

Racing AROUND CQ with Tony McMahon.

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Emerald trainer Raymond Williams, enjoying a few days RAR with his partner Tracey Leake at Mooloolaba has one more run this campaign in the pipeline for stable star Echo Point. At his last start 5YO Echo Point (x Sebring) tenaciously won the $200K Country Cup Challenge Final (1600m) at Doomben on December 3. In the process the gifted gelding provided Williams, a former jockey and coal industry worker with a career highlight.” He’ll either start in the Open (1500m) at Rocky (Dec 23) or the 1600 metres race at the Sunshine Coast on New Year’s Day”, Raymond said. While he’s having a short break, his father Barry is looking after the Williams seven horse team in Emerald.

Widely travelled Clermont based jockey Emma Bell, who has ridden on something like 42 racetracks from Hobart to literally Bullamakanka will hone her skills 480km away from home at Gladstone on Saturday. Among her rides at the Gladstone Turf Club’s big Christmas meeting are the Raymond Williams trained Halverson, Lily Alley (NZ), Super Bazooka and Informer. Nothing new to Emma, a round trip of 10 hours driving and about 1000Km for the day.

On the road again Gladstone bound will be the most prolific journeyman trainer of them all, Bevan Johnson with a team of horses from his new base at a property just outside of Barcaldine. Bevan or Billy as he answers to has five entries at Ferguson Park. The Johnson round trip will involve about 1360km on the road and around 15 hours driving. Billy has it down pat and normally breaks his trip with overnight stays for his horses before race day and then overnighting at the stable barns at the racecourse destination after the races before trekking home in the early hours next morning.

Gladstone Turf Club’s grand promoter-administrator and passionate racing man David Weinert advised me Saturday’s meeting will be a big affair with excellent pre-post bookings already. ‘’It will be a family fun day with plenty for the kids to do with rides (no not on the horses) as well as ample giveaways. Plenty of Christmas party bookings as well”, David said. Good entries in the majority of races so as they say “head on down”.

The Johnson’s stable banner horse, the incomparable Fab’s Cowboy went down narrowly behind local star King Klaus at Bundaberg last Saturday thereby being deprived of his 50th race win. Fab’s scored his 49th win at Blackall on October 15 and has been in the money at his four starts since. Connections will be hoping he doesn’t make a repeat of having seven starts before winning his first race, a Gladstone Maiden on June 4, 2016. He is a remarkable 12YO with his hoof on the till for number 50.

Rockhampton based stewards once rarely roamed outside of Capricornia to officiate at race meetings. That’s a thing of the past as these days the Capricornia stipes are trekking up thousands of kilometres and bobbing up all over the place. Last Saturday resident steward Shane Larkins worked the Roma races while the week before Gary Meek worked Longreach. Believe me in recent months they have officiated all over Queensland including Birdsville. At least they are seeing plenty of country but alas no kilometre allowance as I believe QRIC provide vehicles.

So too for that matter (travelling broadly) was highly talented Ipswich apprentice jockey Olivia Kendall until she sustained serious arm injuries in a Mackay race incident on November 25 when the horse, she was riding bucked and dislodged her. Olivia had earned her stripes with around 47 country winners before just a few months back getting her provincial brief and winning races at Rockhampton for Jared Wehlow. Olivia underwent surgery on her right elbow and had three plates inserted and over 30 staples were used to bind the wound. The sad news is Olivia will be off the riding scene for an extended period most likely longer than six months at least. It wasn’t all that long prior that she was also sidelined from serious injury. Lady Luck all too often can be a bitch and it is a crying shame such a talented and pleasant young lady such as Olivia has had to endure such injuries. Hopefully down the track she will return better than ever with all the misfortune behind her.

Ryan “Winning” Wiggins landed his 13th winner for the month and in as many days when the Jared Wehlow Rockhampton trained Fresh Prince won at Kilcoy races yesterday. (Tuesday). “Winnings” has the one ride Silver Glazy at Doomben on Wednesday and a sole mount again in Capital Gift at Ipswich on Thursday. More than likely, he will have a full book of rides at Rocky on Friday.
If you get a chance log on to the Racing Queensland Non-TAB race replays on the site and have a look at the back drop at a Texas race last Saturday. Inquisitive cattle were lined up in a bunch alongside the outside running rail in a paddock and adjacent in very close proximity to the start of the last race over 1200m for memory. It is classic and the horses walking around waiting to be loaded into the barriers within metres of the herd didn’t seem to care one iota. I came across the vision by chance after logging on to watch Lyn Sullivan’s Gracemere owned Lynric Lass win. Many a wayward thoroughbred has mended its ways after working with cattle.

If you are on holidays around Rockhampton or the Capricorn Coast over the next few weeks the RJC race meetings at Callaghan Park on Friday, December 16 and 23 as well as Thursday, December 29 may be of interest to you.

Tony McMahon.

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