Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 23 May 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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I was delighted to see trainer Pat Dillon and his wife Louse win a race double at Callaghan Park last Thursday. How fantastic for Pat to train not just his first Callaghan Park winner but a double as well in the process with Gilbert’s Gold and Hyperion Star (NZ). Furthermore, it was Pat’s first winner for over 40 years. The Dillons bred Gilbert’s Gold (b g 4 Altius-Vinesse Reine x Bagger Vance) their winner at only its third start in Thursday’s Maiden (1100m). Altius was based at Susan Peddle’s property at Dululu and of course Bagger Vance at Bruce Watts’ Riverside, Alton Downs. By the way Susan informed me today that both Altius and Bagger Vance are both deceased. I first met Pat Dillon when he was the president of the Clermont Race Club and I was the race caller there. As is said Pat is a “gentleman and a scholar” with the latter word in this usage pertaining to his horsemanship skills.   

Last Thursday’s Rockhampton Jockey Club race meeting was also reason for joy for trainer Bill Weeks as he won with Lingjun Topgun (Adrian Layt). Bill a very young 75 has now won twice with Lingjun Topgun at Rockhampton. Bill is very well known in the Rockhampton district and has been around horses and racing in the city most of his life. For many years he raced horses with the late Harry Hone but started dabbling in training himself in 2016. While he was off the scene for around 12 months with health problems, he has been back full swing at Callaghan Park with his odd horse or two since 2018. Bill’s only other winner was Hinvictus in May last year at Mackay. With possible one or two exceptions, Bill Weeks and Pat Dillon are the last of the old school trainers with one or two horses that used to be prolific in racing in Rockhampton. Their numbers are sadly missed as they provided a vital component to racing in Rockhampton. Nobody cheers louder than me when the “little men or women” win a race. They are the salt of the industry. Keep up the good work Pat and Bill.

Also pleased to see that a few new faces among the jockeying ranks in Rockhampton have enjoyed success of the past week. New Zealander Warwick Satterley’s move to Rockhampton is certain to pay dividends. He won on Gilbert’s Gold as well as Our Stormy Girl for trainer Glenda Bell at Emerald last Saturday. Warwick had been out of jockey’s silks since 1997 after enjoying a successful career in the Shaky Isles. Before moving north Warwick 54, rode track work in Sydney for many years and is recognised as a fine horseman. Frenchman Damien Boulet 25, has been at Callaghan Park for some time now after relocating from the Gold Coast where he rode for trainers Michael Costa and Toby and Trent Edmonds. Damien won on Package out at Emerald for Roma trainer Joe Halpin. Both jockeys are welcome additions to the depleted resident jockeying ranks in Rockhampton.

On the subject of the Emerald Cup races last Saturday, resident Callaghan Park trainer Dale Whyte won the $12.5K Cup (1615M) with his honest performer Starsonic (Brooke Johnson, $7.00). To my knowledge Dale has only been training for two years and Starsonic provided him with his 19th winner so from just having small numbers in work Dale is progressing well. So too is winning apprentice jockey Brooke Johnson, 20. Brooke rode a double at Emerald making it 31 winners in just over 10 months of race riding. The week before Brooke rode four winners at Bowen races. Brooke copped a 12 days careless riding suspension in an earlier race at Emerald on Saturday and is outed until midnight June 1.

The Rockhampton Jockey Club has a first-class TAB race meeting set for decision at Callaghan Park on Friday. Don’t forget Rockhampton Girls Grammar Race Day coming up at Callaghan Park on Saturday, June 17. Make sure readers you get on to the RJC Callaghan Park website and Facebook pages to be updated with all the news and events coming up at the fast-approaching Rockhampton Winter Racing Carnival. 

Great win by Jennifer Acton’s Bush Diamond at Townsville last week when it defeated the star NQ 2YO Roweiner’s Dance in the NQ Classic 2YO Prelude. Admittedly, Bush Diamond came in 3kg better at the weights but the Clinton Taylor trained gelding is very smart. As is Geoff Elliott’s Milo Man which is back in work with Nick Walsh at Callaghan Park and getting ready for the Carnival races. Good to see where the Walsh trained Rockhampton Cup placegetter Bollente is back on the comeback trail. Very pleasing second from the cove in a Callaghan Park barrier trial last Friday.  Ian Mill reports that the roof is likely to be installed on the new wing of The Members next week after some disruptions caused delays in the building works. Much more news later in the week so keep reading folks.

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