Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

Published 10 August 2022

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

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Rockhampton trainer Graeme Green was most forthright about his thoughts relating to his star galloper Master Jamie’s “unlucky” eighth in the Cleveland Bay Handicap (1300m) at Townsville last Saturday. I have interviewed Graeme numerous times throughout the years and he has always been contained and factual and I have never known him to be as fired up as was the case this time. “He (Master Jamie) was well placed but lost five lengths when Marway (leader) was dropping back and he had nowhere to go. He only got beaten 2.2 lengths so he was very unlucky”, Graeme said. Rather than continue on to the $150K Toowoomba Weetwood (1200m) on September 24, Green now plans to give Master Jamie a break. “I would rather go that way than turn him out for a spell after had he progressed on to the Weetwood and become a tired horse”, Graeme explained.  Green’s training and management of $10K Magic Millions yearling buy Master Jamie speaks for itself in dollars won – $793,500 from 17 wins and 14 placings.


On face value Marway’s effort in finishing 9.6 lengths last in the Cleveland Bay was disappointing but rightly so his Callaghan Park trainer John O’Sing was a tad forgiving. “He went into the race one run short for 1300 metres – we knew that. Also drawing the outside meant he had to use his speed. He has had three trips away (Mackay, Thangool and Townsville) at all his starts back. There is a race (Open Hcp, 1100m) for him at the end of the month (August 30) in Rocky so we will see how he goes then and work from there”, John O’Sing said.


Graeme Green was spot on with his assessment of the run of the Adrian Coome trained Plenty (Robbie Fradd) in the Cleveland Bay. “Plenty was the run of the race Tony. A few more strides and he wins”, Graeme said. That’s for sure as the replay shows Plenty storming home out wide from near last on the home turn and making up about ten lengths in the straight. It was an enormous run and no doubt Plenty’s enthusiastic owners including the trainer’s mother Sharon and Gladstone Turf Club treasurer Sharon Thompsen would have been delighted. Trainer Adrian Coome agreed – “Robbie Fradd said if he had of jumped cleanly, he would have won. I’ll map out a plan in the next week or so but may wait for the Cairns Amateur Sprint (1400m) (Sept 10 -$75K). Speaking of Sharon Thomsen reminds me the Gladstone Turf Club stages it’s Cup meeting on Saturday and it will be a bobby-dazzler which when translated means it will be a sight to see.  Always plenty of sights to see on and off the track at Gladstone’s Ferguson Park racecourse.


Callaghan Park trainer Jared Wehlow certainly has some very promising middle-distance horses on his hands in Saturday’s Townsville winner Louis January (2000m BM 65 with 62.5kg) and Townsville Cup runner-up Quality Asset. Both will be now heading up for the Cairns Cup (August 17) and Cairns Amateur Cup (September 10) and the 2100m of those races should be ideal. Jared is quite chuffed about his efforts with the pair particularly Quality Asset. “When I got him (late 2021) he was a Class 1 horse but now a genuine Cups horse”, Wehlow said. In eight starts for the Wehlow stable Quality Asset have won four times and only been out of the prize money once. However, under Mornington trainer Matt Laurie he did run fourth at Flemington in a long-standing feature race the Gibson Carmichael Stakes (1600m). Great acquisition for the Wehlow camp and not surprising that he is a Cups horse. Jared has 24 horses in training and many others on the books. He has just recently moved into two recently constructed stable barns at Callaghan Park.


Congratulations to Emerald trainer Raymond Williams on his fine efforts with 11-Y-0 Shigeru Mahogany which won at Keppel Park last Saturday. The Northern Meteor gelding was backing up after second just seven days before at Middlemount so Raymond knows his craft given all the travelling (596km) the old chap (Shigeru Mahogany not Raymond, 46) did that week to get to Keppel Park. Winning with old timers is nothing new to Williams. He trained the speedy old cove Boot Shaker winning quite a few as well as his last start on February 26 this year as a 12-Y-0 at Blackall. Then there is Raymond’s youngster the 8-Y-O Ahwahneechee which has won plentiful races under his control. Managing and racing older horses successfully is quite an art and Raymond Williams has perfected it and deserves to take a bow. In Australia thoroughbreds are ineligible to race immediately they turn 13. I reckon I should get some tips from trainer Williams as I turn 70 on Saturday. Just seems like yesterday when I interviewed him over 30 years ago at Emerald when he was a school boy and granted an apprentice jockeys licence to ride in races. It was big news then for the youngster and now he is creating big news with oldies.


The response to photographs posted on the RJC’s Callaghan Park Facebook and Website page is nothing short of amazing. Followers from all over the globe (true) respond in some form. The immortal Kingston Town has been in the news of late with West Australian racing hierarchy renaming the GR 1 Kingston Town Stakes (1800m) to that of WA champion Northerly. An immortal Kingston Town won 30 of his 41 starts with another seven placings for an Australian record of $1.605.794 million from 1979 to 1982. He won 14 GR 1 races. After retirement “The King” toured Australia and on June 14, 1986 met up with the “King Wally” (Welburn) of Callaghan Park who rode him in an exhibition gallop. I recall Wally once telling me “He was a (censored to “so and so”) to ride that day”. The accompanying picture shows the pair with the late much-loved Clerk of the Course Jack Rutherford. Incidentally, Kingston Town (1976 Bletchingly-Ada Hunter (GM) as a colt ran last of 13 at his first race start in Sydney on March 12, 1979. It may sound like nuts to some but subsequently gelded he became a true champion. That “last” became folklore ever since for trainers if their debutant did likewise assuring worrying owners “don’t worry Kingston Town ran last at his first start”. Incidentally, Kingston Town died relatively young for a thoroughbred at 14 due to a paddock accident. Enjoy the accompanying photograph.

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