RACING AROUND ROCKY with Tony McMahon
Published 4 May 2022
Bill Reid the chairman of the Rocky Amateurs summed it up succinctly when he said “I am over the moon with the nominations”.
He was making reference to the total of 102 horses entered for Saturday’s annual Rocky Amateurs race meeting which has drawn horses from throughout the Eastern Starboard of Australia.
The eight-race program of racing is built around its cornerstone, regional Queensland’s richest race the $440K The Archer (1300m).
In all approximately $653,000 in prizemoney will be offered at the prestigious meeting at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse,
It has been well documented that The Archer has attracted numerous GROUP class racehorses that have won between them just over $12m.
It can only get better in future years while the inaugural race has attracted among other southern interstate trainers the stars Chris Waller, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Kris Lees and Annabel Neasham.
Shame, that The Archer clashes with the GR 2 The Hollindale Cup meeting at the Gold Coast on Saturday where around $1.5M is up for grabs.
That clash has obviously deprived The Archer meeting of some of Australia’s top named jockeys and that is in no way being disrespectful of the class jockeys taking part on Saturday.
Just imagine what a non-clash Sunday date for The Archer would generate in betting turnover and all the other aspects associated with such a brilliant race meeting.
Knowing the foresight of the Rocky Amateurs committee I am sure that assessment will take place or may already be on the drawing board for 2023?
Not surprisingly the supporting races on Saturday’s Rocky Amateurs card are also very strong.
The co-feature race is the $75K The Fitzroy Open (1300m) and here 21 horses have been penned in.
Eleven of those nominations are from visiting stables from Brisbane, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Mackay, Roma and Townsville.
The entries for The Fitzroy are first class with the Peter and Hill Hulbert trained Hail Manhattan topweight with 60.5kg.
Tremendous interest will centre around the appearance of the Nick Walsh trained Bollente a placegetter in last year’s Rocky Cup.
Bollente, an Italian word meaning “hot or scalding” is well named being a son of Sizzling.
Bollente has been a model of consistency winning 15 races and being placed on another 12 occasions from 39 starts.
His total prizemoney is $173,040 bearing in mind that 13 of those wins were in the Central West around country tracks when trained by Ray Hermann at Winton.
Owner Clarrie Hermann transferred the horse to Walsh mid 2021 resulting in two wins as well as being runner-up in The Battle Of The Bush Final in Brisbane and third placed in the Rocky Cup.
A proven weight carrier, Bollente with 57kg looks well placed in The Fitzroy.
So too does the Ricky Vale trained Absolut Artie a magnificent grey that has been managed to perfection by that trainer but hindered by imposing weights.
A 12 times winner including that of two starts back at Callaghan Park under 63kg, Absolut Artie will think it is Christmas with only having 56.5kg to carry on Saturday.
The Fitzroy is going to be a bonanza of a race.
Being an old dinosaur, I added up the prizemoney totals of the 21 horses by my head- you know what I mean – manually.
It did my head in as I kept coming up with a different result.
Anyhow I enquired of “She Who Must Be Obeyed “(SWMBO) – my wife Jean “do mobile phones have calculators’’?
Well versed in speaking French, SWMBO replied very personally and in the positive to my question while being somewhat derogatory about my lack of knowledge re mobiles.
Anyhow, between them the 21 entries for The Fitzroy have won 157 races (I did that part manually) and some $4,943,235 in stakes.
The field capacity is 16 horses but gee whiz (that’s an old one) The Fitzroy is going to be one hell of a race.
See you over at Callaghan Park on Saturday.