Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

Published 23 August 2022

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

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I could write all day about “time” if I had the time. It is the subject of so many truisms including the well work “time flies” and “time has wings”. It just seemed like yesterday when Dr Peter Dunbar introduced the idea of transforming a fund-raising campaign for Rockhampton’s St Peter’s School into a gala race day at Callaghan Park to coincide with Caulfield Cup Day each October. The rest as is said “is history”. Well, that took place over 30 years ago. It has become the Rockhampton Jockey Club’s biggest Saturday race meeting of the year with crowds bettering those of Rocky Cup Day.

The reason I commenced this week’s column with reference to “time” is that I struggle to accept that it is just over seven weeks to the 2022 episode of St Peter’s Raceday on Saturday, October 15. The RJC must-read Facebook page and Website has already commenced the hype with promotion in regards to functions and the like for the gala day. In brief, there will be three luncheon and beverage entertainment packages in vogue on October 15. Happening Hampton’s Pavilion is the “topweight” so to speak costing $195 for members and $220 for non-RJC members, which includes entry to Callaghan Park. Next in line is the Spring Fiesta Party in the Spring Fiesta Lounge. Along similar conditions, tickets are selling for $100 (members) and $125 (non-members).  Thirdly the Brookvale Bash Trackside Party will be in full swing again at the track on the day. Tickets as with both the above functions are selling online at $55 and $65.

Good news for Capricorn Coast race and partygoers is that the RJC has organised a bus service from Yeppoon to Callaghan Park and back which is very reasonably priced at $30 pp return. You know the caper get online to the RJC Facebook or website (links to purchase tickets to all packages are on the front page) or if you seek further information contact the very helpful Katie Langford, the Function and Events Manager on 4937 4000. By the way early bird online entry tickets are discounted to $20 while it will cost $25 at the gate on the day. Promises to be huge bash.


Rockhampton trainer Ricky Vale may have unearthed another potential topliner with last Friday’s Callaghan Park barrier trial winner Divide The Sea. Over the years Ricky has made a knack of racing or recommending tried horses to his clients and in the main they have been very successful. Two that spring to mind are the 2020 Rocky Cup winner Absolut Artie and recent Townsville Cup winner Namazu. Back to Divide The Sea (b g 6 Moshe-Rachine (NZ) which won its 900 metres trial recording a very swift 53.79 seconds under Mark Barnham. That in itself was something to write home about but it became even more significant considering Divide The Sea had not raced since January 2021 when unplaced at Geraldton in West Australia. On researching the form of the former West Australian, it became blatantly obvious that Ricky has a serious horse in his care.

The strapping gelding had placed at Ascot, Perth in Listed Race company and only been beaten less than four lengths in GR 2 and GR 3 company. However, it was Divide The Sea’s third on October 12, 2019 in the $100K Ascot 3YO Classic (1000m) behind Amelia’s On Fire that really caught my attention. Splitting the pair in second placing was Celebrity Queen which went on to become the Queen of the West. Not forgetting of course that Celebrity Queen later won the 2021 GR 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.  Divide The Sea, from what I can gather is eligible for Class 1 only having won the one race. The reason I was so interested in Divide The Sea is that runner-up in the trial Merida’s Bow is partly owned by my wife Jean and naturally as being her former trainer (the horse not Jean as she trains me) that would explain my interest. It is reasonable to assume that given Divide The Sea had not raced for 537 days before the trial, the horse may have had some issues. If that’s the case he is with the right trainer with Ricky Vale who is patience personified with a horse and a perfectionist at his craft. Good luck Ricky and also Jean with Goldie (sorry Merida’s Bow). By the way I see current Vale stable star Namazu is entered for both Brisbane and Cairns on Saturday. Either way he should race boldly.


In last week’s column I wrote of injured FIFO jockeys Marnu Potgieter and Adam Sewell and detailed their woes. Good news is that Marnu has been cleared by his doctor to remove the moon boot from his right leg after breaking an ankle on May 20 at Townsville. “The doctor said after another four weeks of physio and revisiting him he hoped I should be right to resume riding trackwork”. Adam Sewell sustained a back injury in July when a horse reared over and rolled on him and he revisited his doctor as well last week. “The brace came off and I started physio last Thursday. I’m not allowed to lift anything strenuous for six weeks still, so by that time I will be strong enough to start riding trackwork”, Adam enthused.

Good luck to you both. Roma based apprentice jockey Liv O’Donnell formerly of Rockhampton, returned triumphant at her home base last Saturday after a four months layoff through injury. Liv had three rides for two winners and a second. Rockhampton’s loss was Roma’s gain and Liv is in the right stable to succeed under Craig Smith a successful mentor of both equines and humans. Keep on winning Liv. Also, good to hear dedicated Rocky racing supporter Ron Beak is back home after a recent short stay in hospital.


Taroom trainer Rodney Hay and Rocky jockey Tash Chambers are becoming the longshot King and Queens at Callaghan Park. At the TAB meeting there on July 19 they combined with $26 winner Fight In The Dog. Last Thursday there they went one better winning with Coach which started officially at $81 but paid over $90 on the TAB. I know a lucky cove out at Longreach that had a little flutter on Coach at odds of $125. What is it that they say Rob? That’s right “lucks a fortune”. Incidentally there was a horse by Clangalang named that (Luck’s A Fortune) – it cost $15K as a yearling and won about $130K. Not a fortune but not bad by any means.

Reminding you of racing at Callaghan Park next Tuesday, August 30 before the course proper is closed for a month with its annual refurbish. The RJC meetings set for Tuesday, September 13 and Tuesday, September 27 have been transferred to Keppel Park racecourse Yeppoon. Racing returns to Callaghan Park on Tuesday, October 4.








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