Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

Published 22 November 2022

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

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Lovely to see the Heroic Valour filly Valtino score at Callaghan Park last Saturday for Jesse Beak and his grandmother Val. A $24K purchase at this year’s Magic Millions March Yearling Sale, Valtino was one of the last horses raced by Ron Beak who passed away recently. In fact, I believe Valtino may have been Ron’s last winner when she scored on Emerald 100 Day on October 8. As reported, Valtino was undoubtedly a “good thing” beaten when flashing home for second at Callaghan Park on October 27 just days after Ron’s passing. The late Ron Beak took great pride in his knowledge that grandson Jesse inherited his passion for the racing industry. I am certain that Val and Jesse Beak will race many winners together. Trainer Fred Smith has a good opinion of Valtino – “I think she has the makings of a good horse especially as she gets older”, Fred told me. 

Graduates from the Magic Millions and Rockhampton’s Capricornia Yearling Sale are going stride for stride so to speak in the race for recent wins up this way. Last Thursday’s Rockhampton Jockey Club program saw two Capricornia Yearling Sales graduates’ win. Firstly, the Tom Button and Ryan Tyrell trained Love Conquers All mare Loving Miss won The BM 60 (1600m) taking her stakes to $132,015. Good return there as Loving Miss sold for $26K as a yearling in Rocky. Later, Clinton Taylor trained Divine Prophet filly Divine Purpose won the Maiden (1200m) with plenty in hand. She sold for $55K on behalf of Kenmore Lodge, Wyreema at the 2021 CYS and is a descendant of a GR 1 winning international family. At the RJC Stakeholders Awards ceremony hours after that win, Clinton Taylor paid Divine Purpose a mighty compliment. “I think she may turn out to be the second-best horse I have trained so far especially when she gets out over further ground”, he said. No prizes for guessing about Taylor’s best -Chinny Boom. Asked today how she was progressing for her all-important Black Type race assignment the $150K Mode 3YO Fillies (1200m) at Doomben on December 3, he had this to say. “She is ready for the race now and can’t get it on quickly enough”. Chinny Boom heads to Brisbane this Friday for her final training round leading up to the Mode. “She will do her last bit of fast work down there next Tuesday. Stablemate, Attackabeel is also going down for the Country Stampede Final on the same race day”. He said Divine Purpose was likely to next start on December 3 at Callaghan Park in a BM 55 (1300m).

Talking about the Capricornia Yearling Sales, they take place at the Rockhampton Showgrounds on Sunday, April 2 next year. A colt that should be in keen demand is one by Sidestep from the Pins mare Rachine (NZ). That makes it a half-brother to one of Rocky’s most promising horses, the Ricky Vale trained Divide The Sea, which has won his last three starts at Callaghan Park. He completed that trio of wins with a gutsy effort under 61.5kg there in a BM 65 (1300m) for Ryan Wiggins last Thursday. His managing owner and breeder Wayne Comerford from Woodford will send the Sidestep colt and another by Sun City to the 2023 CYS. Comerford said he sold Divide The Sea as a yearling in Perth where he later did his racing and becoming LR placed. After developing problems, he was brought back to Comerford’s Stanley River Thoroughbreds property at Woodford. ‘’I am hands on and he had a long rehabilitation program before being sent to Rocky trainer Ricky Vale and he is doing well up there”, Wayne Comerford said. “Although the horses are business it is a really a hobby for me”, he said. With a perfect score of three wins under Ricky Vale, it is like that more horses in Wayne Comerford’s ownership will find their way north.

 We all know that racing is a mighty leveller. Take Jared Wehlow who has been experiencing a magical run of late with 14 winners from October 1 up to and including November 17. That was last Thursday’s date at Callaghan Park where Jared won with Tricology and Xanthus (very impressive that winner of the BM 70). Anyhow, the point is two days later Jared floated a trio to the big Roma Cup races. Only slither of joy there was a third by So Noble in the Class 1 (1000m). Last start winner Triptonic finished an inglorious – wait for it – 52.65 lengths last of 12 in its race. Roma is a sandy loam track and Jared reported “didn’t handle the sand, first time behind them and wasn’t keen”. Know all about that Jared. Sand track racing and dirt track surfaces are worlds away from turf/grass racing. The best example of that was the mighty Albion Park, Brisbane sand track (Creeker) Red Seas. He won 15 races (1969/71) at the Creek but never won on a grass track. As “Racing Through the Years” reported “Red Seas won with up to 72kg at Albion Park and regularly got beaten on the grass with 47kg’. He was trained by Eric Railton who campaigned in Rockhampton most winters. Eric Railton trained Lumley Fair to win the 1976 Rockhampton Cup ridden by Larry Allen on the old sand track at Callaghan Park. Incidentally, Red Seas a son of the champion stallion of his time in the middle to late sixties Smokey Eyes, was later sold to American where he won races on dirt surfaces. I can remember being in the old ABC callers’ box at Albion Park with broadcaster Larry Pratt around 1971 when Red Seas won a race with 11 stone (abt 70 kilos). That’s probably what I weighed at the time!

Congratulation to trainer Kevin Hansen and owner Michelle Walker of Sweet Dolly fame winning with Invader filly Sweet Fantasy at Townsville last Saturday. Also, to trainer Dale Whyte and jockey Chris McIver with She Just Said It at the well-attended Clermont races last Saturday.  Graeme Green trained Shamedy ran a strong second in the QTIS 2YO (1200m) at the Sunshine Coast on the same day while Master Jamie was far from disgraced when first-up 3.8 lengths sixth there behind Le Palmier in the Swiss Ace Open Plate (1000m). Certainly, confirmed the form didn’t it, of Geoff the Butcher’s restricted galloper Milo Man, which trounced the latter in a recent Rocky trial? The manner by which Milo Man won the BM 0-55 (1200m) here last Friday signalled him as a horse with quite a future! 

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