Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 14 March 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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Rockhampton based trainers have certainly been cleaning up when racing away from home during March. At Monday’s Mackay meeting Clinton Taylor (I’m Bluey), Adrian Coome (Readyentime), Ricky Vale (Guntantes & Ready For Magic) and Nick Walsh (Kasinova Kid) won five of the seven races. Just 24 hours earlier Coome won with former Anthony and Sam Freedman trained Pierro 4YO gelding Moenave at the Sunshine Coast. That win was well deserved ending four consecutive placings for Moenave. Last Thursday at Townsville races some 720km north four Rockhampton horses went racing at Cluden and all won. Callaghan Park trainer-jockey Tash Chambers won with Smart Rubick (well done Tash), Graeme Green with Just Let It Out while Clinton Taylor led in a double through Rover’s Pepper and Edification. Just nine days ago Nick Walsh won with Just Super at the Sunshine Coast. All of those “away” wins are in keeping with racing folklore of “beware of the travelling horse”.

That same motto is applicable to “travelling jockeys” as well. Relocated Sydney hoop, the now Townsville based Adrian Layt 49, is a prime example. The experienced Layt is like a breath of fresh air to the jockeying ranks in the north and central districts. In just the last fortnight he has had 26 rides ranging from Innisfail, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton landing six winners. Layt has won races in NSW for the likes of Gai Waterhouse, the Snowdon’s and Anthony Cummings. With around 600 winners to his name and with an obliging manner and sound work ethics he will succeed up here for sure. Asked about the travelling regime Layt said “you just got to do it”.  Adrian will be very much in demand and intends to ride at the mid-week Callaghan Park TAB races whenever available while riding (driving down) there at the big St Pat’s meeting on Saturday as well. Another gifted jockey who for the life of me is not sought after more often by Rockhampton trainers is former Victorian and now Sunshine Coast based Dale Smith 42. He lobbed at Rocky for just the one ride on February 25. Do trainers know that Smith has ridden over 1000 winners including three GR 3 races? See where Dale rode a winner at Toowoomba last Saturday. If you are ever chasing a jockey maybe he is worth a phone call.

Talking of travelling horses, Callaghan Park trainer Kristie Clark-Peoples starts Not Another in Race 7 as TAB 7 at Eagle Farm on Wednesday. Long way to go first-up with the horse so maybe a case of “where there is smoke there is fire”? 

At the risk of being repetitive, by gee the Capricornia Yearling Sale’s big two races the $150K CYS 2YO Classic (1200m) and the $100K CYS 3&4YO (1300m) on April 1 are shaping as brilliant contests. Clinton Taylor’s I’m Bluey (Dissident-Rosaria $10K) has now entered the 2YO Classic fray joining other winners Bush Diamond, Ringer’s Reward, Sunnycoast and Track Tale. Ringer’s Reward and Sunnycoast may tackle the $500K QTIS Jewel (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday. The 3&4YO is shaping as a cracker of a race. Starlet-Divine Purpose is likely to be opposed by the good winners Just Super, Tycoon Fury, Money Muncher, Flaming Homer and Agustawynd to mention a few. The latter Tim Cook’s Agustawynd could be the “dark horse” as it is much improved illustrated by a game third behind Guntantes and Milo Man over 1300m at Mackay on Monday.

Genuinely thrilled for “well bred” trainer Shane Sigvart 52, to see him and his only horse in training Yaroomba both win first-up after a long spell at Callaghan Park last week. Shane, a grandson of the late great Rocky trainer Bing Crough and son of that “friend to all” and racing lover and horseman Viv Sigvart and nephew of trainers Jacko and Kelly Sigvart (all deceased) underwent heart surgery since his previous starter on August 22 last year. Shane has definitely inherited the training prowess of the aforementioned. Yaroomba formerly trained in Darwin by Gary Clarke where he did not adapt to conditions had not raced since May 2022 so it was a superb training effort from Shane.  Both Shane and Yaroomba are likely to have their next outings at Callaghan Park on April 1. Incidentally, Shane’s figures are quite impressive with three victors from his last five starters. 

While offering bouquets, well done to apprentice Tahlia Fenlon in notching her 100th winner aboard Joshua Manzelmann’s Bold Zip at Mackay on Monday. Tahlia 19, commenced her career aboard the John O’Sing trained Sahara Sally (second) and Phillip Burke (hi Phillip- long-time no see) trained Helluva Hoffa (unplaced) at Emerald on May 22, 2021. At her second day’s race riding at Gladstone the following Saturday, Tahlia landed a winning double courtesy of Absolute Bonza and Arjaycee. To record 100 wins on such a competitive circuit in CQ and NQ in less than two years of riding (out three months through injury) is a magnificent achievement. Well done “Tails “who celebrates her 20th birthday on March 31. More winners may be in store for her at Townsville on Thursday and Rocky on Saturday. 

The name Absolute Bonza reminded me of the Ricky Vale trained Rockhampton Cup winner of 2020 in Absolut Artie. Ricky took former Victorian, the stunning Artie Schiller grey Absolut Artie right through the classes from Maidener to Cup horse winning a dozen races in the process. Another commendable training effort. In the Rockhampton stewards report from March 7 when Absolut Artie finished an out-of-character last, trainer Vale reported his stable favourite would now be retired. 

HOOFNOTE: Thumbs-up to Ian Mill from the RJC for doing a ring around to trainers in relation to availability of jockeys for Saturday’s races. Some 13 jockeys have declared availability to ride at the gala St Pat’s Day Races at Callaghan Park which means there will not be a shortage. Congratulations RJC for this pro-active approach.


Tony McMahon

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