RACING AROUND ROCKY with Tony McMahon

Published 5 April 2022

RACING AROUND ROCKY with Tony McMahon

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Last season’s premiership winning trainer Ricky Vale is currently enjoying what can only be described as a phenomenal winning trot. Since and including February 25, Ricky has produced 10 winners and three placegetters from his last 15 starters. Sirens were really blaring at Callaghan Park on April 1 when he scored with Police and Patrolling as well as Namazu which is looming large as a major Winter Cups star. Ricky has come a long way since training his first winner Bay Beauty at Keppel Park, Yeppoon on January 4, 2003. He has trained the winners of 289 races since. The Vale stable has six entries for next Friday and Saturday at Callaghan Park. Namazu by winning last Friday at the skinny odds of $1.14 or just under “5 to 1 on” could well be the shortest riced winner in Rockhampton in modern times? If not please advise.

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Plans have been changed for top Rockhampton filly Sweet Dolly which was to run over 1050 metres at Doomben on Saturday. Instead, she will trial again over 900 metres at Callaghan Park next Monday. “She is OK but I am not quite 100 percent happy with her. I’ll trial her again on Monday and then all going well she will run in Brisbane in a fortnight after”, her trainer Kevin Hansen said. It could be the race will be the set weights Mick Dittman 3YO Plate (1100m).

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Speaking of trials, I would be forgiving on Boom Time Baby getting beaten at Callaghan Park last week when $1.35 favourite. The Kevin Miller trained filly was mentioned dually in the stipe’s report for getting into trouble. Boom Time Baby ran faster timer than Sweet Dolly in winning a recent trial so expect her next start to run straight to the lead and win.

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It has been a Topsy Turvey time for many of the regular fly-in jockeys to Callaghan Park. Chris Whiteley fractured two cheek bones when tossed and run over by another horse in a race at Mackay on February 15. “My mount stumbled and its nose hit the ground. I came off and another horse ran over me and kicked me in the face”, Chris said from his Gold Coast base last week. ‘” I didn’t even know I had a problem until I was eating some Parmi (parmigiana) that night”, he said. The injury did not require surgery and Whiteley hopes for good news from his doctor next week. Popular Brisbane jockey Les Tilley is also sidelined after breaking his left hand in a trackwork accident last week. “I want to be right quickly as at this stage I had a booking for Emerald Kingdom in The Archer ($440K) on May 7 at Callaghan Park. Nathan Day is also currently sidelined out on nine months disqualification after loosing an internal review decision on March 31. Quite a number of new and old fly-in jockey faces will now fill the voids. As is said “one door closes and another opens”.

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The RJC is in the process of finalising the implementation of a treadmill walking machine for horses at Callaghan Park. By the looks of some trainers (myself included) we could benefit from the use of one as well! Racing Queensland’s Workplace Health and Safety team addressed trainers at a racecourse meeting last Friday. They warned of the dangers of jockeys and trackwork riders smoking and talking on the mobile Al Capone while riding work. If they were involved in a workers compensation accident claim and it was proven they were doing either while on horseback on the racecourse they may not be covered. Just common sense really.

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