Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 20 September 2022

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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Congratulations to Rockhampton trainer Nick Walsh for his outstanding achievements at the Queensland Awards ceremony of the Australian Trainers Association held in Brisbane last Thursday. A crowd of 200 attended the glitzy ceremony in the Brisbane Airport Convention Centre. Walsh achieved magnificently in the Wayne Wilson Medal. “I think I finished sixth on the list of which I am very proud”, Nick said and rightly so as it was dominated by Brisbane trainers and won by Desleigh Forster. Convenor, Cameron Partington said a monthly award winner was selected by judges throughout the racing season.

“This recognises trainers who have recorded a special career milestone or improved their personal best result”, Partington said. Nick Walsh won the December 2022 award for winning his first metropolitan race at Eagle Farm in Brisbane. On December 18, Aleysa’s Dream fought like a lioness to win a BM 85 (1000m) providing Walsh and owners the Gavin Milner family an unforgettable thrill. In all the gifted Carrara mare won 10 races as well as running another 11 placings from 24 starts earning $211,625. Consistency personified; Aleysa’s Dream only finished further back than fourth on one occasion when a close fifth at Doomben. In a career that has not yet spanned three years, Nick Walsh has trained 65 winners with an enviable winning strike rate of 30%. Nick also won the Trackside Photography Special Award which he proudly displays on the attached photo. When being presented with that award, hush came over the attendees after Nick’s reply to MC David Fowler’s question – “what has become of Aleysa’s Dream”. “Unfortunately, she passed away last week”, Walsh replied. Aleysa’s Dream was retired after a third at Callaghan Park in July and was to be mated with Better Than Ready.

Former Rockhampton trainer Lyle Wright, who recently returned to his home town at Mackay to continue training also received recognition at the ATA Awards. Lyle won the February, 2022 award for five successive wins through Carrara mare Emilee’s Empire. Interesting yarn there. Unwanted at the Capricornia Yearling Sale, Lyle’s wife Helen bought the filly from Dululu breeder Susan Peddle for $3000 post sale. While it took Emilee some 17 starts to win a race with a frustrating number of seconds, when she won, she virtually never stopped doing so. In all the mare won around $162K in stakes of which some $60K was QTIS – brilliant bonus scheme, the best in Australia. So, there you go both Rockhampton Wayne Wilson Medal monthly winners did so with horses sired by Carrara. The stallion’s greatest fan Susan Peddle is justified to be very proud. Well done Susan for your undying faith in the breed and those awards give you bragging rights to any knockers of the Carrara’s out there.

Sad to report on the death of Rockhampton racehorse owner and well-known cattle industry figure Peter Wigginton, 66 who passed away unexpectantly last Tuesday, September 13. Peter was the brother of top trainer John Wigginton and the siblings forged a highly successful combination in Rockhampton during the late nineties and early 2000’s. With JW as trainer and Peter involved in the ownership, they won in the vicinity of 50 races while the “the cream of the crop” were an awesome group of horses. For instance, 2001 Rockhampton Cup winner Skymaker who carried the rejuvenated Jason Taylor to victory. Not forgetting 2006 Rocky Newmarket winner She’s Decent while Altissimo Rose (8 wins) won the 2003 Tattersall’s Sprint at Callaghan Park. Then there were their Brisbane winners No Doctor for Me (1999), Evil Snip (2001) and Noopy (2002). Peter was an irregular racegoer in more recent times but boy didn’t he have some thrills to relate from Callaghan Park and beyond victories. The service to celebrate the life of Peter will be held at the East Chapel of the Rockhampton Crematorium in Rockhampton this Friday, September 23 at 10am.

Glad to report Rockhampton trainer Shane Sigvart is back home at Pink Lily “going good” after recent procedures in the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane for the the insertion of heart stents. “I got back home on Sunday and all the results have come back very good. I am just poking along steadily and have been getting wonderful help from Jim Wilson and Sarah feeding the horses in the paddock in my absence”. A happy go lucky and very much a caring character Shane is bred to train being from that pedigree of a proven winning cross (with great respect) of the Sigvart and Crough racing and training bloodlines. Good luck Shane and the best I can say is ‘’Happy Horses Tony’’.
Chris Attard, formerly the Callaghan Park training son of Mick Attard (also trained here) has relinquished his post as trainer for John Horan’s Ares Racing in Townsville. Chris has moved closer to the Mick Attard training base and will be with the John O’Shea stable at Hawkesbury. Toowoomba trainer Lindsay Hatch, a regular Rockhampton winning campaigner with take over Attard’s role in Townsville from where he will operate a satellite stable.
Massive nominations at Longreach for the Cup meeting there on Saturday.

RJC CEO Ian Mill’s “rain dance” worked wonders on Monday when 18mm fell on Callaghan Park, “Couldn’t have come at a better time as the grass track which has been closed for annual refurbishment had just been fertilised”, Ian gloated. Don’t forget the RJC’s next meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, September 27 will be staged at Keppel Park, Yeppoon.
See where that travellin’ man, Rockhampton trainer Clinton Taylor has She’s Winning entered for a Class B race at the Taroom Cup races on Saturday. Taroom of course races the anti-clockwise way of going. Odds on that Callaghan Park jockey Tash Chambers will also head out there to partner with one of resident trainer Rodney Hay’s Coach or Galapagos in the Taroom Cup. I remember being an invited guest speaker at Taroom for their premiership presentations evening way back I reckon around 1990. Racing was big there then with the Reward clan of Graham (a gentleman) trainer and jockeying sons David, Peter, Ricky, Brett and Darrin being in full swing. Darrin rode successfully as an apprentice in Brisbane and won a Queensland Cup on Latin Miss in the mid-nineties (I believe) before moving to Rockhampton. David rode five winners one September afternoon on a Taroom card in 2002. “I’m the only one left riding”, David 62, who holds a dual jockey-trainers licence at Blackall with 15 horses in work said today (Tuesday). He rode winners recently at Tambo and Longreach. It wouldn’t be a Taroom Cup without a Rewald present and Graham will be there front and centre on Saturday doing the hard yards with the club’s voluntary helpers. Where would country racing be without unselfish volunteers? Down the gurgler! Best wishes to all such folk at Longreach and Taroom on Saturday and of course at one of my favourite clubs Gladstone where this old timer will be in action calling, writing and taking some pics. Good noms there too by the way.

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