Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

Published 8 September 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

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A new name among the riding ranks emerging at the Rockhampton Jockey Club’s TAB race meeting at Keppel Park, Yeppoon on Tuesday is that of Uruguayan, South American jockey Raul Silvera Olivera who arrived in Rockhampton some weeks ago and will be based in the city for some time. By all reports Raul is highly regarded in the Uruguayan racing jurisdiction where he has ridden winners of some of the country’s biggest races. At his most recent jockeying day in Uruguay, Raul booted home a winner in Sorprendida at Montevideo. His arrival in Rockhampton follows a lengthy process involving the RJC and racing industry partners. The Halls from Graceville Thoroughbreds played a huge role in Raul’s arrival. With relevant Government authorities clearing the complex way, it will assist in getting more jockeys and trackwork riders based at Callaghan Park to help overcome a shortage in their ranks. Just recently another arrival in Prinish Goordin from Mauritius made the move and is now based in Rockhampton with trainer Jamie McConachy. “Ian Mill (retired RJC CEO) and Shane Scriven who was on the lookout for an apprentice for my stable found Prinish. Ian and the others with myself did a fair bit to get Prinish here (Rockhampton) Jamie said He also said the Hall family from Graceville thoroughbreds were “the driving force behind Raul’s relocation to Rockhampton. It was not the easiest of tasks but definitely worth it”.  It is not unique, as some years ago South American jockey Wanderson D ávila arrived in Queensland in 2010 and was originally based at Mt Isa.  Wanderson later made a permanent move to the Townsville region and The Tablelands and over about nine years there became highly successful. Now 48, Dávila is currently based in SEQ and rode at Gatton on Thursday.  Raul Silvera Olivera has four rides at Yeppoon. Thay are Ricky Vale’s Doothhakmichael, Tony Potter’s Quarter Share, Jess Kuhn’s Secret Sonnets and Damien Rideout’s Unhinched. Given his qualifications, Raul, 32, looks assured of success throughout Capricornia. After Tuesday, Raul will also be available for rides at Mackay on Tuesday, September 19. For more information on Raul and to make race bookings contact the RJC’s Heidi Butler on 0408.712877

While on the subject of internationals, had inquires as to what has become of Irish jockey Martin Harley who made a big hit with winners at the recent RJC Carnival, particularly with the Tatts big days of racing. Martin hasn’t ridden since August 12 and in the 10 days that preceded rode three winners in his home base Brisbane. The good news is, all is OK with Martin from my reports as he temporarily returned to Ireland in relation to sickness concerns over a close relative. If M. Harley is not a world class jockey, then I have never seen one.

Pleased to see that French jockey Damien Boutet, 25, a less known hoop now calling Rockhampton home rode three placegetters at Bundaberg last Saturday at his first day at the races after arriving back recently from overseas. Damien doesn’t mind driving as this Saturday he has four engagements at Morven out Charleville way. It will necessitate a round trip of about 1300km. In many ways Morven, with a population of less than 500 will be a bit of a culture shock for Boutet. He would be more used to Paris with a population of over 11M. I have had no dealings whatsoever with Damien Boutet (except to take his photograph one day at Gladstone races) but what I like is that he is “having a crack”. I do know he was very well tutored when based on the Gold Coast. With the utmost respect he is a battling jockey and I wish him every success and hope he gets the opportunities to ride winners anywhere. He certainly has demonstrated he is prepared to go anywhere to achieve that goal. Good luck Damien and “de nombreux gagnants” which translates to “many winners”. I have to admit it is not the sort of French expression one becomes accustomed to on racecourses! I have always made a point of helping who I identify (rightly or maybe wrongly) as battlers in the racing industry. When I was of the battling ilk and on the dole in what seems a lifetime ago but wasn’t, I will never forget the people that helped me.  

Glad that Rockhampton’s “Big Three”- have by all reports from their connections today (Friday) travelled well and arrived safe and sound for their Doomben assignments on Saturday. Referring to Kevin Miller trained Isis Carmella (R 5 – TAB 1); John Wigginton’s In Evidence (R 6 – TAB 1) and Nick Walsh’s Bollente (R 7 – TAB 4). Now it is out of the trainers’ hands and into those of the jockeys and legs of the horses concerned. All are very honest horses and will give it of their best. Good luck.

Plenty of Rockhampton interest building for the forth coming Emerald 100 race meeting at the well-appointed Pioneer Park turf racecourse on Saturday, October 14. It will be a you beaut day out there and suspect Callaghan Park trainer Tom Smith will be setting last year’s winner Bayersine for the 2023 race again. I can still see one of its Gracemere owners Bear Rawlinson slurping (sorry Bear – drinking out of the Cup) post-race at the Maraboon Tavern. Come to think of it, I did too. Rockyites flock out each year for the Emerald 100 and that will be the case again in about 36 days’ time.

Back to the RJC’s race meeting at Keppel Park, Yeppoon next Tuesday where the first of the seven races commence at 1.04pm. As you know the Callaghan Park turf track is undergoing its annual renovations and refurbishments. That savior of so many race meetings in Capricornia and beyond, gentleman trainer John Manzelmann will start no fewer than 15 horses at Keppel Park on Tuesday. John has seven of the eight horses accepted to start in the BM 70 (1300m) and six of the seven penned-in to run in the Open (1000m). No funny monkey business either as all of his horses have jockeys declared to run in both races. Only trainer John Wigginton (Sidearm) and Darryl Johnson (Aspen Lad) stand in Manzelmann’s way of winning that pair of races. The irony is that John Manzelmann’s partner and stable apprentice jockey Jade Doolan has been engaged for Wigginton’s Sidearm. Jade will be riding for dear life such is her competitive nature and will to win. May have told you this before. Years ago, I broadcast a race at Ooralea Gardens, Mackay when JM had every horse in the field. I clicked on the microphone and remember saying “the biggest certainty in racing is that John Manzelmann will win this race”. How good was that for a tip?

That’s it guys and gals, so have a good weekend and “chevaux heureux” – translate it please Damien Boutet – HAPPY HORSES Monsieur Antoine McMahon. 

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