Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 22 June 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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“Visiting’’ horses will be chasing the spoils at Friday’s TAB races at Callaghan Park when 41% of the 76 starters are trained outside of Rockhampton. It is fair to say that visiting stables monopolizes the two feature races, the $105K QTIS Northern Jewel 3YO (1200m) and the $35K Tatts Sprint (1200m). They comprise almost half the field in the 3YO and six of the nine starters in the Tatts Sprint are from southern stables. Nick Walsh’s star Bollente (Warwick Satherley) fresh from long holidays has drawn two gate while Clinton Taylor’s new stable addition Princess Tenko (Tiffany Booker) has come up with barrier four in the Tatts. The 3YO looks a very open affair especially so with the visiting brigade from   the Gold Coast (3); Sunshine Coast (3) and Toowoomba (2). The appearance of Princess Tenko (b m 5 Real Impact (JPN)-Magic Touch) an Eagle Farm F & M BM 65 (1200m) winner in the Tatts Sprint will raise punter’s curiosity. She was an acceptor for a Class 3 (1100m) at Mackay on Thursday but arguably the wide barrier of eight and topweight of 59.5kg swayed Taylor to the Rocky race for Princess Tenko’s first start for the stable. One thing is for certain the mare is very talented and a bold showing in the Tatts is likely.

In other news from the leading trainer, he is more than happy with stable pin-up Chinny Boom which resumes at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Chinny Boom will contest the set-weights $252,500 QTIS 3YO Plate (1200m) under Ben Thomson out of nine barrier. “’She is going good although the barrier isn’t perfect”, Clinton said. When asked if Chinny Boon was going as well as previous campaigns which saw her win six from eight starts including Eagle Farm and Doomben, he had this to say – “Ï feel she is going as well as ever. I have asked Mark (Lehmann) who rides her work all the time and he says she is going as good as ever. That’s good enough for me”, Taylor said. Me too Clinton as Mark Lehmann a former a brilliant prolific winning jockey is as good a judge on getting the “feel” of a horse as you could find anywhere. Boy oh boy didn’t this writer and Mark win some races together over the years.

Big day at Mackay races tomorrow (Thursday, June 22) when Rockhampton’s latest apprentice jockey McKenzie Apel makes her race riding debut on the Peter Fleming, Rocky trained Class of Royalty (Race 5 -TAB 1) at 2.55pm. Mc Kenzie 21, you could say grew up on the back of a horse from the tender age of two years old. ” My parents had a cattle property outside Gin Gin so it was natural I would be on horses. I was in pony club and then later show jumping at Bundaberg and my instructor John Robertson would ride track work at Bundaberg racecourse”, McKenzie said. You know the story one thing led to another and before long Robertson was instructing McKenzie on the skills required to ride thoroughbreds track work in a track pad. Formerly educated at the Grammar School in Rockhampton, McKenzie moved back to the city early last year and one of her first ports of call was early mornings at Callaghan Park to watch trackwork. “It all started from there and later I became apprenticed to trainer Ricky Vale”, she said. Now after competing firstly in jump outs and mandatory trials, McKenzie has been given her “ticket to race ride”. Ï am really excited to be riding at Mackay and got the feel of Class of Royalty when I rode him in a trial recently”. Apprentice jockeys usually commence their careers race riding at Saturday country race meetings and on face value it appears confusing that in this case McKenzie starts off at Mackay (TAB races) which has a classification of “country”’ whereas Rockhampton is rated “provincial”. McKenzie will not be able to ride at Callaghan Park Rockhampton TAB race meetings until stewards recommend her for a provincial license. It’s quirky and has often been debated but as is said “It is what it is”. Good luck McKenzie.

How good is it to see the next generation of jockeys doing so well as female apprentices in Rockhampton. Very good. Callaghan Park apprentices Brooke Johnson (35 wins); Erin Molloy (11) and more recently Nikki Olzard. In less than a month’s race riding Nikki has ridden five winners. Mackay’s Jade Doolan now that she rides at Callaghan Park we shall claim as a local is also firing with 46 winners. Naturally, Tahlia Fenlon will win the RJC apprentice’s premiership again this year. All up Tahlia, currently riding in SEQ has booted home 114 winners. Now that we have an influx of young jockeys it would be fabulous to see that similarly in gaining some young new trainers to the ranks.

RJC CEO Ian Mill described last Saturday’s inaugural “Four Furlong Walk and Luncheon “for Gold Club members at the Rocky Girls Grammar School Race Day as being highly successful. “We had approximately 80 people walk the track with jockey Chris Whiteley talking from a jockey’s perspective about race riding the Callaghan Park circuit. Also, our course manager Trent (Williams) explained to the group about such things as track maintenance and rail movements. Then the luncheon the members had was absolutely sensational. Don’t mind if you give a rap to Geoff Elliott from Allenstown Square Meats from where we sourced the meat. It was fabulous, everyone raved about it”, Ian said. More similar functions and behind the scenes events on race days are planned in the future. Ian said he plans to elaborate in his weekly column in the CQ Today Newspaper this Saturday.

BRIEFLY: The handicapper has had his lead (ha ha) pencil out this week. See where Master Jamie has been allocated a massive 67.5kg for Sunday’s Tatts Cup at Callaghan Park with the day being promoted along the lines of a Family Fun Day. Details on the RJC Facebook page. Big weights are part and parcel of the Master Jamie racing journey of 52 starts for 17 wins and another 19 placings for $842,025 in stakes. He has carried 60kg or more on 22 occasions during his career. The most I could find him handicapped previously was on 66.5kg. I expect Master Jamie to start on Sunday with a claiming apprentice on board. Meanwhile, Barcaldine trainer Bevan “Billy” Johnson doesn’t plan on starting another weight carrying marvel in Fav’s Cowboy at Gladstone races this Saturday. The Old Cowboy (11YO) was allotted 64kg in the Open Handicap (1194m). Fav’s Cowboy has won 49 of his 137 starts and was a flying home second under 64kg less 4kg for apprentice Tamara Noble at Springsure last Sunday. An amazing 50th win awaits very soon. I haven’t got sufficient time to go back and research how many times the old marvel has carried 60kg or more. The short answer is a myriad of times.

Happy Horses and enjoy the busy winter racing ahead – Tony McMahon.

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