Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

Published 5 October 2022

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

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Before we know it, the yearling sales will be upon us again. Rockhampton’s long running Capricornia Yearling Sale is scheduled for Sunday, April 2 next year which is a little earlier than usual. The CYS has a proven record of being the nursery for a large supply of yearlings that go on and contribute to the fabric of racing at Callaghan Park. Down through the years CYS graduates have been high achievers and no doubt that will continue to be the case. Perusing the results from the Mackay TAB races last Saturday and as if on cue I noticed graduates from the 2021 CYS performed honourably in the QTIS 3YO (1300m). In fact, they provided the trifecta through Kerrod Smyth’s winner Money Muncher, Tom Smith’s runner-up Heroic Knight and Tim Cook’s third placegetter Flaming Homer. 

I’m not big into dissecting figures and would have been a catastrophe as an accountant. However, the percentage of Rockhampton trained horses from Callaghan Park that continually float north year in, year out on that arduous drive to Mackay (I should know I did it calling the midweeks there for years) is quite remarkable. Connections are not doing it for fun but because their horses are better placed there. Consider these figures. Last Saturday Rocky trainers won five of the six races at Mackay. Jared Wehlow a double, while Adrian Coome trained a winner in Sharindi as did Kerrod Smyth with Money Muncher and Tim Cook won with Rock’N’Sol. The Callaghan Park mentors also provided the quinella’s in five races, plus two trifectas and another separate individual placegetter. Rockhampton accounted for 38.5% of the 57 starters. At the previous Mackay meeting on September 22, 36.8% percentage of the race starters were from Rocky which provided three winners, three quinellas, a trifecta and a separate placegetter. Similarly at the previous Mackay Turf Club meeting on September 6, with the Callaghan Park “training centre” suppling 36.7% of the starters bringing home three winners, two quinellas and six separate placegetters. One thing I do know about numbers is that figures don’t lie. Clearly the success of race meetings at Mackay is dependent on Rockhampton horses and in reality, that has long been the case. Nothing wrong with that. However, the RJC race meetings derive little benefit from Mackay trained horses as there are so few. For instance, not a single Mackay horse raced at the TAB meeting at Callaghan Park on Tuesday. At the RJC meeting at Yeppoon on September 27 some 8 Mackay horses (Olivia Cairns supplied 6) or 16.3% of the total starters came from there. At the only other RJC meeting in September on the 13th, Mackay supplied zero horses. The point of all this is that Rockhampton is a “feeder” centre supplying starters at Mackay race meetings which would be in dire straits without them. That’s not about to change but regrettably Rockhampton has a pathetic “feeder supply chain of horses” available from Mackay and the other 10 race courses in Capricornia. I’m being generous in my summation tally of about 80 that would be trained all up at the Capricornia tracks. That regrettably is a consequence and brought about initially to a large degree about 20 years back by the closure of some race clubs, the decimation of regular racing dates allotted to country clubs which virtually brought about the extinction of many trainers, jockeys and owners dependent upon regular country racing. I am not judging here and saying it is “either right or wrong”. I am just suppling you with food for thought which may not be easy to swallow but at least it is now out there on the menu. I don’t believe there is a magic solution but the powers to be should be aware. Now we all are! 

Tune in to Channel 10 tonight at 7.30pm when the RJC’s Events Manager Katie Langford will feature on the Reality TV program “The Real Love Boat”. Katie to quote her own words “made the cut” from massive applications to audition and then be selected to take part in the program. It involved a 21 days cruise in July from Barcelona around the Mediterranean on the ship appropriately named the Regal Princess. From my blurry memory courtesy of a fabulous drinks’ package when I sailed the high seas on the Diamond Princess, the musical theme from the long running TV show the Love Boat (250 episodes, 1977-1986) was piped through the cruise ship on arrival. Anyhow, tune in folks as I will certainly be doing so and hope it is plain sailing for you Katie. By the way log on to the RJC Callaghan Park website and Facebook page to acquaint yourselves with all the events in the process of occurring at Callaghan Park under Katie’s watch.

Talking of yearling sales, Adrian Coome picked up a bargain at the 2019 Magic Millions Yearling Sale when he paid a paltry $2500 for a Benfica yearling subsequently named Sharindi. Last Saturday at Mackay the mare made it three wins and all up with placings has returned some $74,850 including $30,751 in magical QTIS bonuses. By the way, the Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO’s in Training Sale (Ready to Run) will be staged on October 25 with catalogues available at Callaghan Park.

Great run for second by Tom Button trained/Rocky owned Jemeldi in Brisbane last Saturday. “Very good run, very good horse’’, Tom said. Local trainer Ricky Vale had a good day at Callaghan Park on Tuesday through the winners Tru Blu Tango and Knight’s Sword. Younger brigade trainer Dale Whyte demonstrated if given the right cattle he is very competent at producing a winner which he did again with Whoshotthemagician. Denims’ win there meant John Wigginton ended a run of eight placegetters and three fourths since his previous winner Main De Foi on August 30. Not forgetting of course trainer Clinton Taylor and Chinny Boom a filly that has really put herself and Rockhampton racing in the spotlight. By the way jockey Justin Stanley on the front bench of the couch watching all the racing (particularly Chinny Boom with whom he played a vital role) hopes to be back riding trackwork after October 10 when he revisits his doctor. Justin has been out of the saddle since August 7. Meanwhile, no date circled in for Nathan Thomas to return after he was injured when a horse he was riding “collapsed and died” during a race at Mackay about five weeks ago. “I have a few broken bones and a partial dislocated shoulder. Taking a while to come good. I am over the worst of it and moving OK”, the talented and popular Nathan advised me.

Don’t forget the Emerald 100 race day out there on Saturday. Rockhampton racing will be well represented. 

 

Tony McMahon.

 

 

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