Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

Published 21 February 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

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Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse is a hive of activity presently. Ian Mill of the Rockhampton Jockey Club reports that weather permitting foundations for the slab on the redesigned The Members stadium overlooking the parade and mounting-yard enclosure should be laid this week. Steel is being painted and should be ready for erection within the next three weeks. “The RJC committee will be considering proposals for additional landscaping and a redesign of the winner and placegetters stalls”, Ian Mill said. On observation through the building works progressing in the enclosure, congestion is occurring when strappers attempt to exit it after the completion of a race with their unplaced horses. This occurs as passage is at a minimum between the present placegetter’s stalls and the “tunnel” exit through from the present reduction of the enclosure. Hopefully this is only a temporary situation and strappers and all stakeholders who frequent the enclosure post-race are urged to exercise the utmost caution while this situation exists.

Trainer Kerrod Smyth reports Mocial Chief his star galloper and RJC Horse of the Year for last season has been sold to clients of Sydney trainer Bjorn Baker. Under Smyth, Mocial Chief raced by the trainer’s wife Glenda won 11 races and ran many placings as well and was a six figures earner for the stable. Mocial Chief was a fabulous horse for the Smyths – no he was a dream horse. He ran third in a strong Warwick Farm barrier trial last week and has been entered for a “hot” $150K BM 88 (1200m) at Randwick this Saturday. All Rocky eyes will be tuned in and good luck to the new connections. One thing is for sure, Mocial Chief will give it his best shot.

Speaking of Kerrod Smyth, he is never short of a good quote with another classic coming to the fore after winning two races last Saturday for stable patron, the Rolleston/Goovigen farmer grazier and stable client Fred Noffke. Both of the combination of winners, Real Statement and Devil Kick under Ryan Wiggins were bred and acquired from Arrowfield Pastoral in the NSW Hunter Valley. It is God’s Country – I said that not Kerrod. He said with tongue in cheek “their (Arrowfield) throwaways are another’s treasures”. In this case he was referring to Fred and his wife Kate Noffke. The owners are great fans of the Arrowfield stock having previous successes as well. Pressed as to how Fred Noffke acquired Devil Kick (b f 3 Scissor Kick-Devilishly) Smyth replied “over a bottle of scotch”. Fred comes across as a real dry (get it scotch and dry?) character explaining “usually of a night over some scotches is how I find and buy the horses searching through the sales”. What else can I say except “here’s cheers Fred”.

Well done to two Rockhampton racing stakeholders last Saturday. Ladies first and lovely to see apprentice Erin Molloy making her long awaited riding debut at Home Hill races. Now with trainer Tim Cook, Erin had two rides and was third placed on the Cook trained River Daisy. Down through the years Tim has been instrumental in achieving success for quite a few female apprentice jockeys who were indentured to him. To his credit, Tim supports them well putting them up on stable horses and seeking rides for them. Good luck Erin who will be riding on the country circuit in the months ahead. Many thanks to Jenny Felix for the brilliant attached photo. I’m sure enthusiastic and prolific Rocky horse owner Pav Cheimardinov led the cheering among his fellow owners when Namazu provided him with his first metropolitan winner at Eagle Farm last Saturday. A seven times winner under local mentor Ricky Vale scalping the Townsville and Cairns Cups last year, Namazu was sent to the O’Shea-Hoysted barn in Brisbane seeking more middle-distance opportunities. The move has paid off handsomely for Pav and Co, with Namazu earning $75K in his two starts since relocating to the metropolis. Interestingly, Namazu, a giant of a horse was originally trained by James Cummings at Randwick. He barrier trialled in NSW on no fewer than nine occasions and was a Canterbury winner before Ricky Vale and the Pav team on good counsel acquired him. What a great catch and all going well Namazu has some bigger fish to fry. Well done – no just grilled!

Over the next six weeks around 500 yearlings will go up for auction through the Gold Coast Magic Millions March Sale (20/21) and Rockhampton’s Capricornia Yearling Sale on April 2. Catalogues are out now for the MM March Sale and are online as well while the book for the CYS should be out and about soon.  Couple of top CYS graduates from last year are due to take centre stage at racecourses over 2200km apart on Saturday. Sunshine Coast Sidestep filly Party For Two contests the $2M Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Sandown, Melbourne and bingo has come up with the rails draw with comeback jockey Nikita Berriman to ride. At Mackay, Sebring Sun youngster Sunnycoast runs first-up in the $37K QTIS Jewel 2YO Qualifier (1100m). That race has also lured Rocky trained Shamedy (Graeme Green), In Evidence (John Wigginton) and Adrian Coome’s Dragon’s Snip. Shamedy was a $90K Better Than Ready MM purchase; In Evidence a $50K Nicconi also from MM while Dragon’s Snip a Hidden Dragon was bred privately. Sunnycoast cost a mere $7K at the 2022 CYS. Jamie McConachy will be busy over Friday and Saturday. Oh yes, that’s right, Chris Whiteley pilots Sunnycoast at Mackay. McConachy will have to spread his wings. He has Antagoniser entered for Callaghan Park (Friday) as well as Dollar Dollar (NZ) nominated for both Brisbane and Toowoomba on Saturday. “He will start at Doomben if he gets a run otherwise Toowoomba. I want to have him (DD) spell down there as it will be cooler there and I reckon we are due for another hot spell again up here soon. He has done pretty well this time in”, Jamie said of Dollar Dollar a dual winner this summer. Incidentally, Dollar Dollar was also bought from New Zealand during a celebratory night on the “lemonade”. Going on the tale of Fred Noffke’s two winners earlier in this column seems there is something in this new approach to purchasing a winner!

Right from the beginning of the season there has been a scarcity of 2YO’s throughout Queensland racing. For example, only six contested the big 2YO Handicap in Townsville today (21/2) while only eight ran in the 2YO Mdn there as well. In the QTIS Jewel Qualifier at Mackay on Saturday there are only 11 – four of which are first starters while three trainers make up six of the 11 noms. At Rocky on Friday, after nomination extensions eight came in for the 2YO Mdn. Two of those are from Albert Mules’ stable and are also entered at Mackay while Graeme Green has penned-in three of Saturday’s eight at Callaghan Park. Beats me where they (2YO’S) all are. There are theories galore doing the rounds. I remember a song called Where Have All The Flowers Gone from way back in the fifties. Reckon a song should be recorded “Where Have All The 2YO Horses Gone”. Just a thought and I know a silly one at that.

See you at the races at Callaghan Park this Friday.


Tony McMahon

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