Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 30 May 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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In keeping with the saying “the early bird catches the worm” ensure you get to the Rockhampton Jockey Club’s TAB races on Friday early. The first race is scheduled to start at 10.13am and the last of eight to be run at 2.25pm. It was a similar scenario last Friday when the first was at 10.52pm. Last week, following numerous inquiries I fielded along the lines of “why is this so” (such an early start), I sought an explanation from RJC CEO Ian Mill. He copied me in on a reply from Ross Gove, Racing Queensland Senior Racing Manager which hopefully answers your inquiries. “Short answer is that with the SCTC (Sunshine Coast) hosting a twilight meeting (that afternoon) there was no room at the broadcast inn for both meetings to be afforded full SKY RACING 1 coverage unless RJC starts early. The alternative was that RJC has its last few races on SR2 and that would not be a good outcome for the club or industry. This happens rarely in a racing season (twice from memory) and it’s a case of trying to manage parts as best possible”. So that should clear the air for everyone and explain last Friday and this Friday’s early times.

It’s a heck of a long drive from Rocky to Townsville (724km – 8hours) by car let along pulling a three-horse float so imagine trainer Jared Wehlow is not going for the fun of it on Tuesday. Jared has three starters – Race 4 -TAB 10 – Pretty As; R 7 -TAB 7- Simply Better and Campione – R 9 -TAB 8. Similarly for local heavyweight hoop Ashley Butler for two rides – R 8 -TAB 1 – Bakuhatsu -TAB 1 and Air Blue – R 9 –TAB 1. In the minds of curious punters this will be interpreted as “where there is smoke there is fire”.

Some RJC Winter Racing aspirants are among the entries for Friday’s Callaghan Park races. Nick Walsh trained Milo Man and Kasinova Kid are entered for the Open (1100m). Ricky Vale plays a big hand with the trio True Blue Tango, Ornate and Yulong Sovereign. Clinton Taylor’s multiple winner of late Rover’s Pepper is among some smart entries for the BM 70 (1400m). The Vale stable also has the multiple winners Fighting Commando and Knight’s Sword entered while good winner Stubai is back from a Brisbane campaign. The QTIS 3YO (1300m) is a beauty with some very promising horses entered to start. Many RJC Winter Carnival aspirants are entered for Friday.

Just a reminder of the Winter Carnival race dates at Callaghan Park. The $150K Rockhampton Cup (1600m) is run on Saturday, July 8 while the $100K Rockhampton Newmarket (1300m) is run the previous day. Ian Mill advises that the club is still in negotiation for naming rights for sponsors for both features. The run down to the Carnival starts off with the gala Girls Grammar Race Day on Saturday, June 17. Details galore about that race day on the RJC Facebook and Website. Both very informative racing tools. Friday, June 23 features the $105K Northern Jewel QTIS 3YO (1400m) as well as the Tattersalls Sprint (1200m). Racegoers can back up two days later on Sunday, June 25 for the Tattersalls Gold Cup (1600m). Both the Sprint and the Cup winners automatically qualify for a run in the Rocky Newmarket and Cup.


Now onto the social aspects of the Winter Racing Carnival. The best tools for all the news are to log onto RJC Callaghan Park Facebook Pages or similar Website. That is the best tip you will ever get to keep up to the latest RJC and Callaghan Park racing news. The Rockhampton Cup Calcutta luncheon set for The Members Lounge at Callaghan Park on Thursday, July 6 at 12 noon is set to be a grand success. Special guest is Alan Jones the media and sporting personality who really is a household name in Australia. Many though may not realise that Jones has massive multi millions invested in the racing industry. He is indeed a true racing man in every sense of the word.  His co-guest for the luncheon will be Vince Sorrenti a brilliant stand-up comedian. It promises to be a fantastic luncheon and Calcutta. The RJC’s Russell Leonard will no doubt be interviewing both men and it will make for intriguing listening. Russell will also host the Calcutta side of the luncheon. His auctioneering skills for a Calcutta are second to none. The trio of Jones, Sorrenti and Leonard make for wonderful entertainment and it will be a fantastic luncheon. Suggest you book early. At a cost of $225 for RJC members and $250 for non-members a three-course luncheon plus a beverage package is included to compliment the interviews and Rockhampton Cup Calcutta. Tickets for the luncheon as well as the Calcutta are available online at the RJC sites. So, avoid disappointment and book early.

On the get-well list is popular Rockhampton trainer Allan Clark who recently underwent surgery in Brisbane. From all your friends inside and outside of racing (countless) lets hope you are back “in the pink” of health very soon Allan. Sorry I am now barred from providing you with slices of caramel tart. Also, that grand lady of racing with a unique sense of humour in Margaret Garland has been in ill health recently. So much so Marg could not attend husband and former top Rockhampton trainer Jack Garland’s 90th birthday luncheon recently. Get well soon Margaret and good to see your daughter Angela winning at Gladstone races last Saturday with Grand Ascent.

Sad to report the recent passing of one of Central Queensland’s great racing characters in Cawarral  based trainer Allen Albert who trained out of Callaghan Park. They threw the mould away when Allen was created and he dabbled in just about all avenues of racing. In keeping with his character, Allen had some quirky named horses including the last couple he raced in God Of Mischief and Nock With Ya Elbow. I remember interviewing Allen almost two years ago to this day when God Of Mischief, his last winner won at Gladstone. A jovial character he was a delight to interview and with his strong voice Allen never needed a microphone. To all his family and friends’ sincerest condolences.

See you at Callaghan Park races on Friday.

Happy Horses – Tony McMahon and don’t forget to book you Calcutta Luncheon tickets.

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