Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

Published 15 December 2023

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon

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Mercurial Rockhampton warhorse Master Jamie has come through last Monday’s win in a Callaghan Park barrier trial with flying colours as he embarks on his eighth racing campaign. Those campaigns which commenced in October 2018 covered 55 starts for 18 wins and 20 placings netting $945,525 in prize money. Little wonder trainer and part-owner Grame Green described his pride and joy affectionately as a “tough old buggar”. Master Jamie (b g 7 Poet’s Voice (GB) -Verkko) won at his first start way back on November 9, 2018, taking out the Breeder’s Plate at Callaghan Park by almost seven lengths. It certainly was a sign of things to come. Master Jamie’s CV makes for a magical read. However, highlights would be winning The Gateway (1400m) at Eagle Farm in December 2020 and then winning the Cleveland Bay Handicap (1300m) at Townsville in August 2021. From a Rockhampton perspective, Master Jamie’s consecutive wins in the 2022 and 2023 Rockhampton Cups (1600m) top the ladder. All going well Master Jamie will attempt to win his third consecutive Rockhampton Cup next July. If he did so he would be only the second horse to achieve that monumental feat since the first Rockhampton Cup won by Reload in 1918. Hectique is the only horse to have done so in 1969, 1970 and again in 1971. However, it must be remembered in that era racing at Callaghan Park was held on a sand track. Seemingly from perusing Master Jamie’s racing record, the older he gets the tougher he gets. For example, in his sixth preparation commencing in November 2021, he raced on 14 occasions during every month until August 2022 for three wins and eight placings. Then during his last preparation Master Jamie raced 12 times once again every month through until August 23 for just the one win but the one that counted, the Rockhampton Cup. Les “Bubba” Tilley with 11 wins including the two Rocky Cups has won the most races on Master Jamie. The Gold Coast’s Chris Whiteley has won twice on him while jockeys James Orman, Michael Rodd, Brad Pengelly and apprentices Marnu Potgieter and Dan McGillvray have all shared individual winning rides. In all his seven racing campaigns to date, Master Jamie has won at least one race with his best being five successive wins from as many starts in his second campaign from April 2019 to July 6, that year. Graeme Green plans to commence Master Jamie’s eight racing campaign on Saturday week in Brisbane. “He has come through his barrier trial win last Monday really well and I am pleased with him. He will kick off in the Falvelon (1200m) at Eagle Farm next Saturday (December 23). Bubba Tilley will be his rider,” Graeme said. Personally, I certainly hope Master Jamie smashes the $1 million prize money mark during this upcoming campaign. I believe should he do so he will be the first horse in the history of racing in Rockhampton (commenced July 22, 1869) to have done so. From what I can ascertain only the great Rockhampton owned sprinter Our Boy Malachi, trained initially by John O’Sing at Callaghan Park before moving to Team Hawkes in NSW and Victoria, has won more in stakes than Master Jamie. Actually, the comparison between the two Rockhampton-owned stars is quite surreal. Our Boy Malachi won 19 of his 27 starts earning $946,400. Included were two consecutive Rockhampton Newmarket Handicaps under Adrian Coome in 2013 and 2014. So, on my calculations Our Boy Malachi is the highest earner in the history of Rockhampton racing by just $975 more than Master Jamie. All things being equal, Master Jamie will cement his rightful place in the history of Rockhampton racing during his current racing campaign. It could be a dual celebration being the first local horse to smash the million-dollar mark and the highest in Rockhampton racing history. The feats of Master Jamie are indeed a credit to the training prowess of his Callaghan Park trainer Graeme Green. What a ride Graeme, and his other owners of “Jamie”, Ron and Bev White have had since that memorable day back at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Sale in March 2018 when they acquired the horse for just $10,000. Just maybe the best is yet to come! 

Speaking of records and the like, it would be justifiable and a welcome addition to the annals of Rockhampton racing, if the Rockhampton Jockey Club could introduce a Hall of Fame recognising the contribution of so many remarkable individuals and horses since the inception of the sport/industry here in 1869. Sure, it would be a mammoth task but having such a devoted historian of local racing as John Day to call on would make the task all the easier. John played a massive role in compiling the 2018 magnificent publication put out by the RJC titled – Historical Happenings Celebrating 150 Years of Racing. I believe Rockhampton Racing Hall Of Fame should be launched and I doubt if anybody would disagree. Just to throw fuel on the fire, the first inductees should be Master Jamie himself and former Rockhampton jockey Allan Cowie who won the 1991 GROUP 1 AJC Derby at Randwick on Kinjite. As RJC CEO David Aldred is a prolific and passionate writer of historic racing happenings almost on a daily rate on LinkedIn, he is the man to get my suggestion up and running. Over to you David!

AROUND THE RIDGES.

Callaghan Park trainer Jared Wehlow enjoying a snowy holiday in Canada with family members, has Doom Diva engaged in the third race at the Gold Coast on Saturday as TAB number 7. Sorry to report that Mackay apprentice Jade Doolan, well known in Rockhampton racing circles sustained a career threatening injury in a barrier incident at Atherton races last Saturday. Jade has had a full reconstruction of her right wrist and faces further surgery in the very near future. Currently she is hospitalised in Brisbane and is hoping to be able to go home for Christmas while awaiting more surgery. Popular by demand as the saying goes, let’s hope Jade Doolan makes a full recovery and gets to ride again despite doctors warning her the injuries could be “career ending”. Jockeys are the most resilient sports people in the world and Jade Doolan fits that ilk perfectly. So too is Rocky jockey Natalea Summers also sidelined following an incident at a recent series of Callaghan Park jump outs. She has ruptured ligaments in her right ankle and left hand. I learned this when speaking to Natalea at the races there last Saturday which explained why she was not riding her partner and trainer Darry Johnson’s stable pair Mr Tangles and Miss De Boom at Home Hill races that afternoon. At the time Natalea was unaware of the Home Hill race results. No doubt later she would have been feeling elated that the pair both won. Good news that Nataleaa doesn’t have to undergo surgery on either her leg or hand injury. “The Highwayman” Clinton Taylor maintained his domination of this season’s 2YO races here, there and almost everywhere winning another at Bowen on Thursday with I’tellyougo ridden by Cairns apprentice Jenna Edwards. “Hope it keeps up”, Clinton quipped when I put it to him today (Friday).”. Had to ask “How are the other pair (Chinny Boom and Astapor) doing? All good,” came the reply which said enough. Former premier Callaghan Park trainer Tom Button and his partner the apprentice jockey Gabrielle Semmens won a double at their new Bowen base on Thursday with Ruby Sparkles and Northern Pride – well done. Gabby rode Ahwahneechee to third place in the Country Stampede Final at Doomben last Saturday week. She has ridden 38 winners to date. Another good week for Rockhampton apprentice jockeys Nikki Olzard, McKenzie Apel and Erin Molloy all riding winners at country meetings. The racing tomorrow (Saturday) goes to Gladstone in Capricornia. Some 28 Rockhampton trained horses remain in the fields when 58 horses compete at the Mackay TAB meeting tomorrow, that is Saturday. You know the drill folks- the Rocky horses and stakeholders excel at Mackay, and they will bag winners galore there on Saturday. Seriously, you would go mad trying to predict how Callaghan Park race programs turn out. By that I mean trying to surmise how many nominations a particular program will attract. Take next Thursday’s Callaghan Park, Rockhampton Jockey Club race meeting. Considering there is a Mackay meeting scheduled for the following day, the consensus of opinion would have been that the nominations for Rockhampton would be on the small side. Nothing further from the truth, they are the biggest of Carnival nominations received all year. How do you pick it? By the way some top horses penned in to start. Of interest is the inclusion of Milo Man now back with owner-trainer Geoffrey Elliott from his good mate trainer Nick Walsh. No problems there but Geoff the Butcher admitted he missed having a horse in training after a lengthy hiatus. Welcome back Geoffrey and welcome along to one and all at Callaghan Park races next Thursday.

HAPPY HORSES – TONY MCMAHON. 

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