Racing AROUND Capricornia with Tony McMahon.

Published 29 December 2023

Racing AROUND Capricornia with Tony McMahon.

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In a plan designed for “strategic placement,” Sunnycoast, the winner of this year’s $150,000 Capricornia Yearling Sales 2YO Classic (1200m) at Callaghan Park has been transferred to Murwillumbah, NSW trainer David McColm. Sunnycoast (ch g 3 Sebring Sun-Even So x Chosir), under the astute tutelage of Callaghan Park trainer Jamie McConachy, boasts the impressive record of six starts for four wins and a second accumulating $179,200 in prize money. He is just another shining success story that would-be buyers never would have imagined when thy neglected the yearling colt at the CYS on Sunday, April 10, 2022, as Lot 76 at the Rockhampton Showgrounds. So much so, that his vendors, Brian and Lorraine Hall of Graceville Thoroughbreds, Alton Downs were able to buy him back for a mere $7000. It was similar scenario at the 2017 CYS when the Sturgiss family from The Caves presented a colt by Hemingway from Marechal. He was passed in at $14K when failing to make the reserve. The well-known racing couple retained the colt and raced him with friends the Wagner family. Named as Marway he went on to win 13 races and $400,825 in stakes. Any wonder the CYS, which will be staged on Sunday, April 7, 2024, has the reputation of being a buyer’s paradise. Where was I? That’s right Sunnycoast. Brian Hall this morning explained to me the reasoning behind transferring Sunnycoast to McColm at Murwillumbah. “We (wife Lorraine) and I put down a strategic plan. By being based at Murwillumbah, he (Sunnycoast) will be able to race in The Highway races run on Saturdays in Sydney for country trained horses in NSW. As well as that, Sunnycoast will still be able to access the QTIS races in south-east Queensland. It provides us with those options which make a lot of sense to us. As well as that, David McColm is a very good trainer and only has a few horses in training at his private off-course set-up at Murwillumbah.” Of course, McColm would be well known to racing followers as he prepares the very good racehorse and last start Eagle Farm winner Fare Too Easy a winner of $1.291, 675 in stakes. Obviously, the Halls had been keeping watch on McColm and Far Too Easy for some time, as in 2022 the horse was second placed in the $2M Kosciuszko at Randick, an offspring of the Highway and Country Series. Incidentally, this is not the first time the Halls have hatched and acted on a “strategic plan”. They executed a similar plan in the 2019-20 racing season transferring the grey Top Echelon mare Gracie Belle from Callaghan Park trainer Peter Fleming to Matt Dunn at Murwillumbah. Gracie Belle then won in Brisbane as well as winning the 2020 $500,000 Country Championships at Randwick when ridden by Kerrin McEvoy. Good luck Brain and Lorraine and hope Sunnycoast can emulate the feats or even go one better than Gracie Belle.

Speaking of the Capricornia Yearling Sales, it is timely that Townsville trainer Georgie Holt won the 2YO at Home Hill on Thursday with Wanjina filly Margot Barbie. She was sold at the 2023 CYS for $10,000 and has already won $43,950.

This one will take some beating in regard to travelling jockeys. In her own words Ipswich based apprentice jockey, the very capable Olivia (Liv) Kendall will be “taking my have saddle will travel to a new level this weekend.” On Friday (today) she had a ride in Ipswich. Then on Saturday, Liv has four rides in Darwin (yes Darwin) before flying back to the Sunshine Coast for a ride (Roar Hide) on Sunday. On Monday, New Years Day, she has two rides for trainer Matt Kropp at Toowoomba. Then she backs-up at Callaghan Park, Rockhampton on Tuesday for five race rides. If that doesn’t earn marks for dedication as well as naturally Frequent Flyer Points, I don’t know what will. Good luck Olivia – sorry Liv. 

Brisbane jockey and regular FIFO Callaghan Park competitor, Jackson Murphy has also been “hopping around” recently. After riding at Rockhampton last Thursday where he won a race, he rode at Mackay the next day, December 22 (nothing special there granted). Two days later Murphy lobbed at Taree, Central and Lower Coast, NSW and won a race on the Wayne Wilkes trained King Kika. Gee these guys and gals get around, don’t they?

All good with Chinny Boom which arrived in Brisbane safe and sound in the early hours of this morning (Friday) for her engagement at Doomben tomorrow (Saturday). Likewise for the Master himself Jamie, with trainer Graeme Green reporting he (Master Jamie) has “thrived in Toowoomba this week.” As I reported previously, Master Jamie will contest the $750K slot race there on New Year’s Day being the King Of The Mountain. Green believes and for what it is worth, I endorse his sentiments, that Master Jamie has a genuine chance in the race. He feels Rothfire and Steady Ready are the horses to beat. Callaghan Park trainer Jared Wehlow’s Courtesy Bus looks like missing a start in the KOTM but is more likely to contest the King’s Consolation race on the same Toowoomba program. By the way, it is a daytime meeting not nighttime at Toowoomba so don’t miss out.

I don’t know about you, but I am having trouble knowing what day of the week it is over this Christmas-New Year period. However, I do know that the RJC have a six race TAB card next Tuesday at Callaghan Park. The regular FIFO jockeys Ryan Wiggins, Justin Stanley and Tahlia Fenlon will be in action. So too will the Gold Coast’s Chris Whiteley now that he is back on the roster. As well the talents of Warwick Satterley and Raul Silvera Olivera will be on show. The latter won a race at Home Hill on Thursday, and it is to be hoped he WON’T be leaving our shores bound to his homeland South America in a few months’ time. Raul is just starting to really warm up while Warwick Satterley is now accepted as part of the jockeying furniture in Rockhampton. 

That wraps-up 2023 readers but please stay safe and Happy New Year.

Naturally, HAPPY HORSES – Tony McMahon.

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