Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 9 October 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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There was no prouder man on Callaghan Park racecourse on Sunday than Uruguay jockey Raul Silvera Olivera and with understandable justification. Just after “three bells” (3pm) Raul 32, displayed his jockeying skills with a copybook front running winning ride on the Jamie McConachy trained Antagoniser. It was his first winner in Australia at only his 15th ride since moving from the South American country in early September and settling into his new riding jurisdiction in Centra Queensland. Raul brought with him his reputation as one of the finest riders in Uruguay and he enhanced that even further through Antagoniser win, the second on the program for trainer Jamie McConachy one of his fervent supporters. Later during Sunday’s card, Raul almost put more icing on the cake (not that he would indulge in such a delight) when beaten narrowly on trainer Michael Evans’ Thunder Knob going down to Graham Green’s Desert Moon (Les Tilley). Sharing in the delight of Raul’s win was Mauritius trainee apprentice jockey trackwork rider Prinish Goordin who strapped the winner and assists the Jamie McConachy stable. Both men are in Rockhampton on Work Visas for riding trackwork and have quickly endeared themselves to local racing stakeholders with their dedicated and obliging manner and willingness to work.

Bryan Hall and his wife Lorraine proprietors of Graceville Thoroughbreds, Ridgelands and ardent Rockhampton racing supporters, provided me with an insight into the professionalism and dedication of Raul Silvera Olivera. The couple was involved in the process of getting Raul out to Rockhampton. Nobody would know better as Raul lives in a unit on their stud’s property just outside Rockhampton. “He is just so professional and dedicated – you wouldn’t believe it. He is such a happy person to be around. Raul drives into Callaghan Park six days a week each morning from out here (27km) at 2am and rides trackwork. Then before he comes back home, he attends an English class in Rockhampton. After that he sleeps for a few hours and then helps out here on the farm. He maintains a very strict diet consisting of a daily basis of 120 grams of meat, rice, banana, avocado and two pieces of toast a day. He only drinks water and won’t ever have a beer with me. Then each afternoon he rides his mountain bike around a 25km circuit out this way (Ridgelands) to maintain his fitness. I can’t believe how dedicated this man is and it is a pleasure to have him’’, Bryan Hall said. With work ethics and a professional manner such as that Raul Silvera Oliveria deserves every success he achieves here. I saw enough with his rides on Sunday to confirm that he is a top-class jockey and Rockhampton racing is lucky to have him. What’s more, his riding weight is 53kg. 

The RJC”’s CEO David Aldred advises that Raul has been riding horses since 14 and his professional career commenced around 2011. “He has ridden in 2470 races in Uruguay and won 264 of them as well as riding 507 placegetters. As well he has won several Classic/Grade races, equivalent to Australian Group races including other major events in Uruguay this year. His last ride in Uruguay was on a filly named Surprised and it was a winning one at Las Piedras racecourse the second most important track in Uruguay. It was a very patient ride”, David Aldred said. 

Jockey Justin Stanley was also seen at his brilliant best on Sunday, and it was akin to his halcyon seasons just a few years back as he booted home four winners. He combined with Callaghan Park trainer Nick Walsh with two of that trainer’s three winners on the program – Fine Shot, Queen Assassin while winning on Jamie McConachy’s, Jetski and Clinton Taylor’s Nasha. Taylor and Stanley have combined for 76 winners while the jockey has ridden in the vicinity of 1600. Justin’s winning ride on Nasha was one which stewards and trainer-masters of apprentices should be shown as it was a FIVE STARS effort from him. From five barrier     he had Nasha maneuvered over to be on the rails 100 metres after the start of the BM 60 (1500m). Although about 10 lengths behind favourite and leader Ricky Vale’s giant Fastnet Rock gelding Freckle Rock in the middle stages Stanley sat patiently on Nasha just following the inside running rail and sneaking inside runs. It wasn’t until about the 300 metres that he switched course outwards on Nasha which then charged to the finish line nabbing Freckle Rock by 0.09 of a length. It was a brilliant ride and Justin Stanley is to be applauded. In Justin Stanley’s barometer his 2022-23 racing season with 90 winners was down on some of his previous seasons but still very good from where I sit judging. However, I have a feeling that all going well J. Stanley is in for a bumper of a season – hope so anyway.

Sunday’s track at Callaghan Park looked a picture and raced accordingly with fast times the order of the day. The RJC and track manager Trent Williams must have been elated by the results. Sunday was the first race meeting scheduled at Callaghan Park since late August when annual refurbishment works came into play. Accolades should also be handed the RJC for the untiring efforts over a long period of time to bring to fruition Raul Silvera Olivera and Prinish Goordin coming to Rockhampton. Their presence and the installation of a treadmill machine has helped considerably to minimise problems getting horses worked and trained proficiently. Credit where credit is due, I know retiring club treasurer Jeff Leaver and CEO Ian Mill were heavily involved in the process of getting the riders out here and the RJC’s Bill Ouston and Rob Carr the treadmill. Racing administrators in general are often criticised but they certainly deserve recorded praise for the above. It can’t be said the RJC was not listening to concerns from trainers when they were raised. 

Rockhampton TAB meetings are being serviced by some excellent jockeys at present. Former Sydney jockey Adrian Layt is a fine example. Now Townsville based Adrian doesn’t mind a drive and it was rewarded on Sunday when he and another highwayman Caloundra’s Garnett Taylor combined to win with Victory’s Ghost in the Maiden (1400m). Very much experienced and a gentleman to go with it, Layt was seen at his best on Victory’s Ghost which is raced in the purple and white silks of the Durrington family who won the 2015 Rockhampton Cup with the Darryl Gardiner trained Victory Hotel. Now locally based, the former Kiwi jockey Warwick Satherley had a winning weekend. He booted home Beyond Star for trainer Nick Walsh to win Sunday’s Rocky Class 1 (1200m) after venturing to Eidsvold to win a race there for resident trainer Bob Murray on Saturday. Satherley is off to the Barcaldine strong TAB meeting tomorrow (TUESDAY) for a busy book. Satherley is a classy rider and once again he is another asset to Rocky and Capricornia racing. 

Don’t forget folks, two feature meetings are coming up. There will be Rocky stakeholders galore at the glamour Emerald 100 race day this Saturday. The following Saturday the glamourous people from all age groups will descent on Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse for St Peters School Caulfield Cup race day – Saturday, October 21.

Back soon with RACING AROUND CAPRICORNIA and ON THE ROAD AGAIN – HAPPY HORSES – Tony McMahon.

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