Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 21 August 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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Hi folks, what a sensational weekend for the Rockhampton horses, trainers and owners in Brisbane at Doomben last Saturday. As you would be well aware John Wigginton’s In Evidence and Nick Walsh’s warhorse Bollente both won races. As well Clinton Taylor’s Princess Tenko and Thomas Smith’s Acre’s Away ran gutsy thirds. Plans are that In Evidence will probably head down The Bruce for another crack at a similar QTIS 3YO 1350m at Doomben on September 9. Nick Walsh is uncertain of immediate plans for Bollente after his gutsy under 59kg in Saturday’s NMW (1600m) at the simply amazing odds of $18.00. Really unbelievable. Very few horses win those races in Brisbane under top weight so Bollente is special and so too is Walsh as a trainer. It must be remembered that Bollente went amiss after a rather unlucky 0.85 lengths third to the Waterhouse-Bott trained Regal Stage in the Rockhampton Cup on July 10, 2021. Bollente did not race again until eight months later when he won first-up over 1050m at Callaghan Park on March 12, 2022. Good trick! He only had one more run that campaign for second to Sir Warwick in The Fitzroy here on May 7, 2022. Out again this time a year before resuming for a fourth at Rocky to Princess Tenko on June 23 this year. What a superb display of placing a horse by Nick Walsh as he then crept up to two 1300 metres races before a good 2.45l 6th of eight behind Roman Aureus in Open company over 1400 metres at Eagle Farm on August 5. Then bingo back in grade over his favourite distance of 1600 metres Bollente won on Saturday. The old adage of training is “if you feed them right, work them right and place them right they can win”. With a 33% winning strike rate with 108 winners in less than four years of training, Nick Walsh has obviously got the training caper “down pat”. Nick said this morning plans are uncertain for Bollente now, but he will either head back to Brisbane for a similar race or go to Cairns for the $150K Amateur Cup (2100m) on September 9. One thing that seems locked in is that Bollente will be transferred to Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted in Brisbane before long as there are more suitable races for him there. Acre’s Away in the meantime is spelling at the trainers’ property while Clinton Taylor plans to continue on with Princess Tenko.

Other news from the Taylor stable, star galloper Chinny Boom returns from the paddock to resume training with him on September 1. Highly promising Divine Purpose off the scene since June and with whom Taylor won four races quickly from 1200 metres to 1500 metres will resume with a different trainer. “With my blessing Divine Purpose has gone to Peter Moody and co in Melbourne where she is in training. She wants distance races and will be suited down there”, Clinton told me this morning. He has a very large team of babies (2YO’s) ready to come back from pre-training to his Rockhampton stables shortly.

Please keep the donations coming in for the John Poots appeal after he has undergone multiple brain surgery. His wife Louise told me this afternoon from the Brisbane hospital bed that John has not improved much. “They have John sitting up in a chair at times from today, so I suppose that is positive. He absolutely hates being fed through intravenous tubing. They are talking of starting him on brain rehabilitation therapy next week. More scans are going to be done this week”, Louise said. She was very gracious of donations towards the appeal todate and wished me to pass on her thanks to those who donated. I am sorry as I am not as gracious as Louise as I would have thought much, much more than the $12,100 that was tallied at 2pm today (Monday) would have been sent through. I suspect some of John’s fellow racing stakeholders because of their busy workload and schedule may not of yet donated. If this is the case ,please do. Please give generously and all the numbers are on the ATA sites and also the Rockhampton Jockey Club website and Facebook pages in stories I have composed under John’s photograph. 

There will be horse trucks and floats heading out of Rocky early tomorrow (Tuesday) heading the 335km to Mackay’s Ooralea racetrack for the seven race TAB program there. On my count 24 horses representing 11 Callaghan Park trainers. Nick Walsh, Jared Wehlow and Clinton Taylor will each start four horses. Ricky Vale has three starters while Jamie McConachy, Christine and Michael Dore, Thomas Smith, Peter Fleming, Dale Whyte and John Wigginton and Sileas Green are also represented. I was impressed by the trials of Taylor’s Stavanger (Race 2 – TAB 12) and Vale’s Track Tale (R 6 – TAB 9) at Keppel Park recently. From past statistics it is almost a given that Rocky trainers will win at least half the program if not more at Mackay. The trick is to pick which ones isn’t it? Safe travels to all concerned.

Speaking of it would be a timely tonic if Jamie McConachy trained brilliant youngster Sunnycoast (R 1 – TAB 1) won at Mackay. That’s because Jamie was flown to Brisbane for heart surgery last Thursday but suffered a heart attack when on the operating table. “Ï was very lucky as I dodged a bullet there. They were talking about releasing me today (Monday), but I am still feeling pretty ordinary”, Jamie told me by phone this morning. Good luck to Jamie and Sunnycoast and also to Civic Mission, his recent Ipswich and Townsville winner which is the sole Rocky entry for Doomben races next Saturday. Both horses are raced by Graceville Thoroughbred’s Hall family, marvelous patrons of the trainer and Rockhampton racing. Speedy recovery Jamie and there is no better medicine than a winner or even better two. 

Finally, don’t forget racing goes into recess at Callaghan Park for a month or so after the TAB races there on Tuesday, August 29. The annual track maintenance commences on Wednesday, August 30 when RJC CEO David Aldred told me machinery would be on track. The RJC race meetings in September on Tuesday’s September 12 and 19 have been transferred to Keppel Park, Yeppoon. The track at Keppel Park for the recent barrier trials on August 7 was super.

Plenty more racing news throughout the week on these sites. 

Happy Horses – Tony McMahon.  

Photo Credit: Caught in the Act Photography CQ.

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