Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.
Published 27 June 2023
The Graeme Green trained Master Jamie never ceases to amaze me. I’ve written reams about the Poet’s Choice (GB) – Verkko 6YO gelding from the day Graeme first bought him in my presence as a yearling for $10,000 at the 2018 Magic Millions March Sale at the Gold Coast.
Now I am compelled to write some more after “The Master” was so gallant albeit in defeat under 67.5kg when second in last Sunday’s Tatts Cup (1600m). I urge you to watch the video of the race on the RQ race replays site. The never say die attitude displayed by Master Jamie was inspiring. He lumped the full weight, jumped from the outside gate and had to be ridden hard to get to the lead about 300 metres or so after the start. From there he did all the “donkey work” setting a blistering pace that contributed to winner Indian Dreamer establishing a new track record. And how Master Jamie fought in the straight fighting off the late challengers before Indian Dreamer, courtesy of a brilliant Martin Harley weaving ride came through along the inside to relegate MJ to second beaten 2.67 lengths. Indian Dreamer carried 9.5kg less weight! Sports journalists in all their chosen disciplines can sometimes through pure passion tend to exaggerate. I truly am not on this occasion as I rate Master Jamie’s courageous display as the most memorable that I have seen as a racing writer in 35 years at the craft reporting on Rockhampton racing. It is rarity to go out on such a limb and rapturously report on a beaten horse. In Master Jamie’s case I make no apologies.
In a career of 53 starts Master Jamie under Graeme Green’s management has won 17 times from distances ranging from 1050m his debut win at Rocky on 9/11/2018 to 1600m in taking out last year’s Rockhampton Cup. He has amassed $848,525 in stakes. But what about this? On 22 occasions Master Jamie has carried 60kg or more in his races. He truly is an iron horse seemingly with legs of steel and a lion’s heart in every sense of the words. More importantly he has an insatiable inherent will to win, an inate quality and a little on the rare side with the majority of thoroughbreds. How I would love to see MJ win the upcoming $150K TAB Rockhampton Cup (1600m) on Saturday week. I am certain all true racing lovers would share that sentiment. HOOFNOTE: How did Master Jamie come through what to most would have been a gut busting run? “Tony he licked his feed bin dry last night”, trainer Green told me on Sunday while shaking his head in awe.
While it is all systems go on the MasterJamie front, such is not the case with Clinton Taylor’s six times winning filly Chinny Boom. She disappointed at Eagle Farm last Saturday when 6.08 lengths fifth behind Ekaterina. “She pulled-up no good, not sore or anything but not herself. She will have a good long break from racing now”, Clinton reported to me at Monday’s barrier trials.
In the meantime the Taylor stable produced a ready-made replacement in last Friday’s course recording breaking Princess Tenko. Resuming in the $35K Tatts Sprint (1200m), the Real Impact (JPN) mare was first-up after being formerly trained by Brisbane’s Kelly Schweida. Princess Tenko won by 4.27l and ran an astonishing 1m:07.73 – flying wasn’t she? Princess Tenko now gains a free start in the $100K TAB Rocky Newmarket (1300m) next Friday week. While placed at 1350m, she has not won beyond 1300m which questions her capacity in a likely tough Newmarket field second-up. Soon find out won’t we? The “late mail” arrived post race that Princess Tenko had been working better that Chinny Boom on the training tracks. Can’t blame Australia Post for that one – ha ha!!
BRIEFLY: Not only Irish Eyes would have been smiling after that countryman jockey Martin Harley wrapped the Callaghan Park track last Friday. He rated it alongside Hong Kong’s Shatin and was exuberant in his rapturous compliments. Having ridden GR 1 and GR 2 winners internationally it would be a game person to question Harley’s credentials in making such positive statements as earlier reported on his site. Track managers, stewards and handicappers usually cop serves not bouquets. I have always believed in credit where credit is due so the RJC’s track manager Trent Williams would be chuffed.
Sad to report on the recent passing of passionate racing man and RJC member Rod Douglas. A teacher, the late Rod was as much at ease with a form guide as an educational class room guide. When Jean and I were flooded out at Stanwell in 2013, Rod was one of the first to offer assistance. You never forget such kindness. Sincerest condolences to Rod’s wife and family.
Word is Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman will bring a team of horses from the Gold Coast to Callaghan Park for next week’s Carnival. Of course he won five Melbourne Cups among a string of GR 1’s. Also won a GR 1 King’s Stand at Royal Ascot with Miss Andretti in 2007. Fancy having two Kings Stand winners at Callaghan Park as jockey Martin Harley did likewise and will be here. The RJC has a promoters dream happening at Callaghan Park – how good is that?
Congratulations to Rocky jockey Tash Chambers and trainer Stephen Rundle on their $20 outsider winner Poet’s Girl last Sunday at Callaghan Park.
Also fabulous to see Rockhampton racing and Tatts Race Club stalwart John Day at Sundays races. Rockhampton racing owes John Day a tremendous debt of gratitude for his lifelong service to the industry and its history here. He is a walking encyclopaedia (forgot some younger readers may have never heard of that term) – “computer “ on the history of Rockhampton racing. What a pity Rockhampton racing does not have a Hall of Fame? Some worthy recipients there since formation in 1868.
Geoff the Butcher’s Milo Man was second in a barrier trial at Callaghan Park on Monday behind dual Sydney winner Stocial now from Snowden Racing to Clinton Taylor. Stoical is the latest horse among an expanding equine portfolio of his Chinchilla owner and trainer Rodney Hay.
Don’t forget to make your early bookings to all the Winter Carnival functions over the next week asap. Bring them on. Happy 😃 Horses🐎🐎 Tony McMahon.