Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 17 October 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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The hammer has almost come down on the livestock and thoroughbred auctioneering career of well-known Rockhampton racing and cattle identity Ken McCaffrey who surely after last Saturday has not yet descended from “Cloud Nine”. And why would Ken? After all McCaffrey did the unthinkable, the unsurmountable by scaling new heights and being part of a team of conquering The Everest. No, you are correct Ken is not a mountain climber so just “think about it” for a second. He definitely did not scale Mt Everest in the Himalayas, which at 8848 metres is the highest mountain in the world. McCaffrey did far, far better in the eyes of a racehorse owner being part of winning group of 20 that race Think About It which reached unprecedented heights in the racing world winning last Saturday’s $20M The Everest, 1200m at Randwick being the richest turf race in the world. For the win of Ken McCaffrey and the large ownership group of Proven thoroughbred syndicate members, they shared in the first prize pool of $7,549,000 less of course the winning trainer Joseph Pride and jockey Sam Clipperton’s percentages. Think About It (b g 5 So You Think (NZ)-Tiare) has now won $10,979,175 in prize money from 11 wins and a third from his 12 career starts. Wait for this though. Indeed, an elite racehorse of the highest calibre, Think About It certainly was not considered in that vein by the majority of prospective buyers as a yearling as he sold on behalf of Newgate Farm for just $70K at the 2020 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale. However, trainer Joe Pride and the highly successful thoroughbred syndicators Proven Thoroughbred’s were taken by the yearling and the rest as they say is history. As earlier reported, Ken’s horse’s Think About It won both Queensland GR 1 races -the Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) and the Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at this year’s Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival. The world thoroughbred racing is now Think About Its oyster. Spare A Though (that was a handy horse here in years gone by for the late Nelson Ohl) for the connections of Clovis which was runner-up to Think About It when the latter made its race debut in a Kembla Grange Maiden (1200m) on July 30, just last year. Clovis according to official reports “lost two lengths at the start” of the race and then went down by that margin to Think About It. Two weeks later Clovis won its next start at Kemble Grange in a Maiden but hasn’t been sighted since being unplaced there later that month last year. It’s record stands at a win, a second and one unplaced for $27,950. However, the owners of Clovis have priceless “bragging rights” that their horse ran second to Think About It. As well the owners of Capo Strada and Conrad that relegated Think About It to third at Warwick Farm on August 21 last year (only time he has been beaten) can also skite as well. However, Rockhampton’s Ken McCaffrey has the supreme “bragging rights” as being an owner of arguably the champion sprinter of the world. Congratulations Ken and as you would know better than most of us, dreams are born at yearling sale auctions but never in your wildest dreams could you have imagined where your cherished So You Think (NZ) yearling from that Melbourne Sale would have taken you. You have every right to boast the words of William Shakespeare from The Merchant of Venice as would be applicable to a thoroughbred auctioneer. “He does nothing but talk of his horses with many a vain boast”. Don’t spare the vanity Ken, as you have earned the bragging rights that ownership of such a magnificent thoroughbred as Think About It demands. Happy Horses – Tony. 

The Rockhampton Jockey Club hierarchy has every right to be elated to the response from owners and trainers in regards for the entries for Rockhampton’s Caulfield Cup Day six races at Callaghan Park on Saturday. Some 64 horses have been nominated, which is brilliant considering all the racing around the ridges at the moment. For instance, at the Mackay Turf club’s TAB races on Thursday, there are – wait for it 117 acceptors over an extended nine race card. Some 33 of those final acceptors are from Rockhampton stables. Another 10 Rocky horses were scratched after the barrier draw because it seems drawing badly. For instance, Kerrod Smyth had two acceptors Nic Me Some and Spiccato which drew 15 and 19 barriers. Scratched wisely.  Anyhow, Saturday’s Callaghan Park meeting is set to be a fabulous meeting. The RJC reports bookings are excellent but at time of writing a few “vacancies” (for want of a better word) may exist for some reserves. Just contact the RJC and as usual all the info is on this Facebook Page.

Wasn’t all that long ago that Rockhampton racing was on its knees as far as the scarcity of jockeys based in the city. That’s all changed now thanks to a number of trainers that had the foresight and initiative to sign up as trainee apprentice jockeys. I am not mentioning names (long day and I may leave someone out) but Callaghan Park has the services of some brilliant in the main female apprentice riders now who are really going places. As well at some stage apprentice Tahlia Fenlon will no doubt return from her Brisbane experiences while Warwick Satherley and Raul Silvera Olivera are now starting to get a go on in Rocky. And so, they should. Both are excellent riders as their records attest and future results will enhance. Last but not least is the comeback of Dale Evans. Dale is as good as they come when in form and that’s not too far around the corner. The dependence of FIFO SEQ jockeys for Callaghan Park race meetings will always be a given but I believe given the rise in the local ranks not as much as was required in the past. See how good a forecaster I am?

Scanning the Magic Millions Gold Coast 2YO’s In Training Sale catalogue scheduled for next Tuesday when a 146 Lots will go up for auction makes for interest reading. None more so than Lot 84, a Sidestep-Rachine (NZ) x Pins colt offered on behalf of Stanley River Thoroughbreds. The colt from what I have seen is a brilliant type and ticks all the boxes as far as I can ascertain.  It is a half-brother to the very good horse that Ricky Vale trained in Divide The Sea. The Sidesteps are if you will excuse the pun “stepping high “so I won’t be surprised if it ends up coming up this way to CQ or Rocky based buyers. Have a good gander at the catalogue which of course is online at our friends’ sites of Magic Millions. 

Well, that’s about another column done and dusted. Happy Horses – Tony McMahon.

HOOFNOTE: It was wonderful to see last Tuesday seriously injured Rockhampton trainer John Poots come into to the Chapel for the celebration of the life of Phillip Burke (RIP) aided by a wheelie walker and his wife Louise and his great mate the Callaghan Park trainer John O’Sing. I went out and shook John Poots’ hand and it was still a handshake of a strong man. These former harness racing identities are made of stone. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of John Poots who was closely involved with Phillip Burke in their harness racing days at Callaghan Park, Paceway. 

FINALLY, DON’T FORGET TO DRESS TO IMPRESS AND BE PART OF THE ACTION AND FASHION AT CALLAGHAN PARK ON CAULFIELD CUP DAY THIS SATURDAY. 

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