Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.
Published 6 June 2023
From a journalistic perspective I have always enjoyed writing newsy quirky columns such as Racing Around Rockhampton. Columns allows the creator journalistic licence to formulate their own style while also providing opportunities to vent or offer their opinion on matters. This is a far cry from penning a straightforward news story where facts are its basis.
In an offbeat fashion, I suppose I am trying to say I hope you enjoy reading my columns as much as I enjoy compiling them. From the feedback I receive, it seems apparent that you do. Thank you for that.
HOOFNOTE: I love whenever possible to introduce a sometimes self indulgent devilish sense of humour. Such is today’s column.
It’s that time of the year again with the Winter Carnival kicking off with the Rocky Girls Grammar Race Day on Saturday week, June 17. The upcoming RJC race days are as follows: Saturday, June 17; Friday, June 23; Sunday, June 25; Friday, July 7 (Newmarket) and Saturday, July 8 (Cup). The best place to get all the latest mail on the race days and associated social aspects and functions is to download the RJC website and Facebook pages.
Reminds me of my first RJC Winter Carnival when I arrived up here with my old tangerine Dino Datsun in June 1988. I followed the horse transport float up from the Gold Coast which carried my charges including Konedobu a talented former Sydney galloper which had stringhalt. That is a condition best described as the horse having an exaggerated elevated carriage of one of its hind legs. Konnie raised many a concerned and curious eye when walked as he looked handicapped. Stringhalt did not affect his galloping action whatsoever as the old sticky beaks at the time in Rocky in 1988 soon found out. That Carnival he won the Beak Handicap as well as running third behind River Road in the Rockhampton Cup before I took him straight to Sydney where he was placed.
Anyhow, I remember unloading Konnie at the late Darby Godwin’s stables in North Rockhampton when he arrived. A gentlemanly older trainer long passed couldn’t believe his eyes when Konnie literally hopped off the truck and strutted his raised near side back leg walking action. The trainer who was a tad deaf to say the least, was stunned but was intent on knowing Konedobu’s breeding. He asked and I provided it three times saying “he is by Cheyne Walk out of a Baguette mare”. “Sorry couldn’t hear you” he kept repeating. In the end, I frustratingly and cheekily shouted “He is by Cheyne Walk out of a Faggot mare“ to which the reply came “ Very well bred isn’t he the old beggar but shame he can’t walk”. Konnie was a classic case of “ never judge a book by its cover”.
Last years Rocky Cup winner the Graeme Green trained Master Jamie looks to be “on song “ to string together two consecutive such wins. Great run at Eagle Farm last Saturday when just behind the place getters.
Two additions to the thoroughbred stallion ranks at stud in Central Queensland.
Former Grandview Stud, Peak Crossing entires Under The Louvre and Whittington are settling in up here for Spring dalliances.
Under The Louvre will stand at Springton Park on the Yeppoon Road while Whittington will be based at Red Ridge, Rossmoya. Welcome boys.
You may have noticed that the RJC has advertised for a trackwork rider to be an employee of the club. Chairman, Rob Carr explained the club is keen to source overseas applicants in this capacity. He said immigration regulations require such an advertisement to be displayed for 28 days. “The club pays the salary for the rider and trainers who engage the work rider at Callaghan Park are billed individually by the club for each horse the rider works”, Carr explained. He stressed any qualified person could apply and it was open to all applicants not just those from overseas. He said was hoped a suitable applicant would be sourced to assist in alleviating the shortage of track work riders in Rockhampton. The add with full details and disclosures is available for viewing on the RJC Facebook page. The successful applicant receives a salary of $54K which I imagine would entail about four to five hours early work six mornings a week.
The idea of the RJC (race club) employing a track work rider has a similar precedence. Back in the eighties and nineties the club employed the farrier Gary “Pancho” Cron (RIP). He shod your horse and provided you with a duplicate invoice. You were billed by the RJC. He was a character Pancho and I remember one occasion about late 1988 he talked me into having a horse I trained floated over to be shod at a Rockhampton school oval. I wasn’t travelling too well at the time as in dollars and the lure was that farrier Cron would pay me the shoeing fee to refund the RJC if I went along with his kind deed. I can still hear Pancho saying “What do you reckon it will be educational for the kids to see a horse being shod”. That wasn’t exactly his motive as I later found out he was keen to impress the female school teacher not the kids. Things didn’t exactly go to plan as the horse was unimpressed with his new surrounds and noisy audience and acted accordingly. I got the impression neither was the female teacher as Pancho never mentioned her again. True to his word though, much to my relief, he paid the shoeing fee. They were Happy Days but for now Happy Horses- Tony McMahon.