Racing AROUND Rocky With Tony McMahon

Published 25 July 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky With Tony McMahon

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First things first, congratulations are in order to Rockhampton apprentice Tahlia Fenlon on becoming the first female apprentice to win a Mackay Cup. Tahlia did so last Saturday on John Manzelmann’s $61.00 pop Savvy Legend (NZ) which got up in the last bound to nose Ricky Vale’s Namazu out in the $150K Cup (2100m). Females have won the Cup previously including Lacey Morrison (2005 -Awesome Warrior) and Jessica Drury (2012-Prussian Secret). Both of those young riders had just come out of their apprenticeship. By the way, Tahlia Fenlon’s three months loan to Brisbane trainer Chris Munce has now been made permanent with her indentures signed over from Callaghan Park’s Fred Smith. From what I have been able to ascertain, Tahlia has also won the Mackay Turf Club’s apprentice premiership for the current 2022/23 season.

I just happened to comment to young trainer Tom Smith at Callaghan Park after he won there with 1t’s Gerry last Thursday, now that he had broken the drought, the winners will keep on coming in. Lone behold at Mackay races on Saturday, the very promising Acres Away (ch g 2 Top Echelon-Hoyedge) raced by Mitchell and Anna Power bolted in. Acre’s Away, indeed a flashy type, has now won three of its four starts and earned $69,575 in stakes. Tom’s previous Rocky winner was on April 14 but in all fairness, he did train two winners at Thangool and Mackay last month so it certainly wasný a lengthy drought. Tom hasn’t got the numbers that some of his other young Rocky rival trainers have in work. “Ï have 12 horses currently but quite a few are young ones and not racing”, Tom told me. Give Tom the goods and he will parcel them up as winners for you.

Rockhampton’s Cocobrew Express (the horse), not the congenial and popular Rockhampton entertainment venue won the $75K Mackay Magic Millions Guineas (1560m) on Saturday. It was a celebrated win for former multiple Callaghan Park winning trainer Tom Button and his partner trainer Ryan Tyrell. Celebrations went on well into the night at CocoBrew (the venue) with my host Robin Adams declaring the horse would have even won with him on its back. Big call Robin! A stable source related that Cocobrew Express (the horse) collapsed when the story was conveyed to him. 

In all Rocky trainers won half-the program at Mackay as Adrian Come (Moenave- Jackson Murphy, $11.00); Jamie’s McConachy Uno Artie (Ashley Butler-$1.45) and Ready By Design (Jared Wehlow-Ryan Wiggins, $3.30) also won. Jockey Ashley Butley rode a winning double there. Jamie McConachy will soon produce his gun 2YO, the Graceville Thoroughbreds owned Sunnycoast which won a Callaghan Park barrier trial earlier this morning (Tuesday) with a “’leg in the air”. Excuse the pun but Sunny Days ahead for all concerned I feel. 

Very sad to record the passing of devout family and racing man Chas Jones who went to the big racetrack in the sky on Thursday, July 13 at the age of 96 years. Chas had a wealth of knowledge and experience in all facets of racing from administration with all the Rocky Racing Clubs during his era as well as having been a bookmaker and owner. His ilk is few and far between now in this period of racing. On behalf of all in racing and particularly those fortunate enough to have been close to Chas Jones, deepest sympathies. Chas’ daughter Wendy Mulry has followed in her fathers’ footsteps and is a committee person with the Rockhampton Jockey Club. Husband, Bob Mulry is a keen racing man and their son Liam a successful race caller. The RJC named a race in Chas Jones’ honour at Callaghan Park races last Thursday. The race, the Chas Jones Memorial 3YO was won by favourite Sizzling Samurai ($2.35) which pipped outdider Star Prince ($13.00). The bookie in Chas would have been “a rider in the sky” barracking for the runner-up. 

Dare I say but the winning ways of Rocky apprentice jockeys McKenzie Apel and Nikki Olzard on the recent country circuit will continue at Middlemount races this coming Saturday. The annual meeting boasts more prize money than many country counterparts with three races offering $11,500 as well as the Open Cup (1475m) with $14K and a QTIS Maiden (1200m) worth $19k. Good money if you can get it and really worth the drive of about three hours from Rockhampton. The club is also offering trainers and jockey cash incentives. As well there is $7000 in prizes for the Fashions on the Field. The winner of the Middlemount Cup will receive a magnificent crystal trophy. The late brothers Graeme and Alan Acton were instrumental in establishing and assist constructing Rosewood Park, Middlemount racecourse which will run its 35th annual meeting there on Saturday. The Acton Memorial race will be one of the highlights on the racing card.

Happy Horses – Tony McMahon. 

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