Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 14 August 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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Wow what a weekend for Rockhampton racing stakeholders and their horses. Callaghan Park trainer Jared Wehlow started the ball rolling winning the $50,000 Cape Cleveland Bay Open (1300m) with O’Mudgee (NZ) (br g 7 Sacred Falls- Contented x More Than Ready at Townsville. They won the three feature races there worth $300K in consecutive races between 3.29pm and 4.44pm on Saturday afternoon. Kevin Miller’s Callaghan Park trained Isis Carmella (b m 5 Bel Esprit-Monsheree x Monashee Mountain) (Harry Grace, $9.00) then won the $100K Ladbrokes Cleveland Bay Sprint (1300m). Then about 35 minutes later the Ricky Vale trainer Namazu (b g 6 Medaglia DÓr*USA)-Earthquake x Exceed And Excel) in an awesome display broke the track record winning the $150K Ladbrokes Townsville Cup (2000m) by six lengths under Brisbane jockey Ryan Wiggins at $3.80. “It was incredible. Tony Wode (Townsville race caller) said in his 39 years association with the Townsville Cup he has never seen an easier win”, Pav Cheimardinov, the Rocky based managing part-owner of Namazu said. He said Namazu had come through the race well and would head on towards the $150K Cairns Cup (2100m) on August 26 and then all going well the $150K Cairns Amateur Cup (2100m) on September 9. Of course, Namazu won the 2022 Townsville Cup before going on to win the Cairns Cup at his next outing. A fortnight later Namazu ran third to Star Status in the Cairns Amateur Cup. Pav said one thing has him puzzled about Namazu “How is it that when he won the Townsville Cup last year with 54kg (bottom weight) he only won by a length yet this year with topweight of 61kg he won by six lengths”. It’s a bit like how come the champions’ champ Kingston Town ran last at his first race start and then went on to win 14 GROUP 1 races.

Very much underrated trainer Kevin Miller who trains his horses out of Callaghan Park but stables them at Bajool just south of Rockhampton claimed his biggest sprint win todate in the Cleveland Bay. Very much down to earth, Kevin 48 described the win by Isis Carmella by saying “she went good”. Certainly, did Kevin, as Isis Carmella turned the tables on Dr Zous which relegated her into second at the recent Mackay Newmarket by doing that to him at Townsville winning by a half-length. The form certainly played true as the Doctor beat her by 0.8 lengths at Mackay but met his conqueror marginally worse off at the weights at Townsville. Kevin Miller has done a superlative job with Isis Carmella, which was bred by stable patron Lou Ricciardi at Isis Park property near Childers. The mare won her Maiden at Callaghan Park at her second race start on May 11 last year. Since then, under the Miller banner, she has won another 11 races and recorded another 10 placings. Her purse now is filled with $393,800 in prize money. Miller, formerly of Mt Isa, has been training here for about 12 years and he certainly knows his way around a stable barn. Matter of factly he told me “I started off much earlier working for Mike Moroney and Russell Cameron in Adelaide”. Enough said as both were whizz trainers. Young Victorian jockey Harry Grace, 24, got the winning ride on the recommendation of Kevin’s close friend the Victorian trainer Frankie Stockdale who campaigned with horses in Rocky and beyond for the carnivals last year. Instead of trekking to Cairns for the plum sprints up there over the next month, Miller plans to head to the big smoke in Brisbane with Isis Carmella. “There is a suitable race down there for her in three or four-weeks’ time. She will get plenty of weight so I will have to chase up a good claiming apprentice”, he said. Two starts prior to the Cleveland Bay win, Isis Carmella was runner-up to Craig Smith’s Art By Concorde in the $200K Battle of the Bush Final (1200m) at Eagle Farm. The city and the bush are all the same for Kevin Miller who takes his horses anywhere they can win, and I am a great fan of his for supporting apprentice jockeys, something he has done for many years. Almost forgot, Kevin took the spoils from Townsville and when Isis Carmella had rested sufficiently, he and the horse hightailed it back to Bajool to their “stables” arriving after the 753km trip at 2.15am Sunday. Kev said they listened to the music of the TRAVELING WILBURY’S – no he didn’t I made that up! I must ask him though as I wouldn’t be surprised.

Jared Wehlow ‘s O’Mudgee (NZ) was having his first start from the stable after being a multiple Sydney winner for that city’s trainer Bjorn Baker. After Saturdays Townsville win, O’Mudgee has $369,895 beside his name for eight wins and nine placings. In winning for the gifted Brisbane rider Georgina Cartwright, O’Mudgee had to overcome a very wide barrier draw to win the 1300 metres event in fast time. Opinions were always bright and hopes high for O’Mudgee since his purchase as a yearling at the Karaka National Sales in 2018 for $140K. Judging by the Townsville win, O’Mudgee has a very bright future ahead of him for the new stable. Just on an hour after O’Mudgee won, about 825kh south his stablemate Kobi Rocks (NZ) (b/br g 6 Rock’n’Pop-Quieen Mary x General nediym) won the $15,000 Gladstone Cup (1608m) under Chris McIver as $2.00 and favoutite. The Wehlow trained gelding confirmed his affinity for sand tracks winning by 5.75 lengths after a previous Bundaberg Cup win on the sand by 6.3 lengths. Personally, I was delighted for jockey Chris McIver as it broke a run of outs of 10 weeks since his previous winner at Bowen in early June. Chris, with almost 350 winners to his name, works away in the main from his Rockhampton base through the week and is virtually restricted to race rides in the country of a Saturday. I hope his Gladstone Cup win, which was not the first for Jared Wedlow (Teddy Bear) will be the start of many more frequent wins for Chris. 

Much, much more racing news during the week on this Facebook page and the Callaghan Park website and don’t forget the races at Callaghan Park this Thursday with 94 entries and some good ones at that. This will be the second last Callaghan Park race meeting held there as after the next on August 29, the RJC meetings will be transferred to Keppel Park, Yeppoon while CP gets its annual makeover.  

Happy Horses Tony McMahon.

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