Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

Published 31 January 2024

Racing AROUND Rocky with Tony McMahon.

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It was an Australia Day long weekend to forget for Callaghan Park trainer Graeme Green and his stable stars Master Jamie and Top Spy last week. It started off on a sour note when Top Spy, the odds-on favourite for the first race at Eagle Farm last Friday finished with an “FF” in the official lists as in “failed to finish”. Stewards questioned jockey Martin Harley who reported Top Spy felt awkward at the 600 metres mark and as a consequence of his concerns he placed the mare under no pressure and took no part in the race from the home turn. Veterinary examinations post-race determined no apparent abnormality was noticeable. However, stewards ruled Top Spy must barrier trial before racing again. It is a mystery as there is nothing wrong with her (Top Spy). She was vetted twice after the race, and nothing was detected. She has come back up here and been vetted again and no problems. She is eating and is normal as ever. It’s a mystery to me”, Green said on Wednesday. On Saturday at the Sunshine Coast the stable’s “millionaire” Master Jamie also tailed the field home finishing 14 lengths last in the $160,000 Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m). Under 60kg, the race plan for Master Jamie went out the door after he was trapped exceedingly wide throughout in a bunch up towards the lead. Something had to give and in a rarity Master Jamie for once did just that. Furthermore, he copped some buffeting in the straight when a beaten horse. I recall that Master Jamie ran last in the 2021 GR Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) which is arguably the only other occasion he has finished in that possie during his 58 starts career. You only have to watch the Sunshine Coast race from last Saturday to excuse his performance. Just like after his Stradbroke failure when Master Jamie bounced back a few starts later to win the Cleveland Bay in Townsville, it is most likely he will be back winning again soon. “Once again Jamie is fine. Back bouncing around in his Rocky stable. Nothing could be found wrong with him. Very, very tough run and a forget me race,” reported Green. The only positive from the weekend for Graeme and his Rocky owners was that Shamedy, a real “Mr Consistency” type ran a bold third under 60kg in the QTIS 3YO (1600m) on Saturday at the Sunshine Coast. That took the Better Than Ready gelding’s prize money to $174,650. I recall being close to Graham at the 2022 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale when he successfully bid $90,000 for Shamedy. He later told me “Ï was shaking – that is the most I have ever paid for a yearling.” Once again proved that Graeme Green is a great judge of a yearling at a sale. Afterall, we all know her got Master Jamie at a Magic Millions March Sale for just $10K which has turned in to over a million dollars.

Speaking of which, the Magic Millions team under James Dawson will be at Callaghan Park races next Friday, February 9 promoting the upcoming March Yearling Sales scheduled for March 11 and 12. The two days of the sales are preceded by a massive race meeting at Aquis Park, Gold Coast at which Rocky starlet Chinny Boom is likely to be competing. As is usual Magic Millions will be offering regular buyers over the past three years a complimentary accommodation package at the Gold coast. Applications can also be made for purchasers of yearlings at the forthcoming sales of over $10K or more for the refund of their accommodation. After being closely involved with the MM March Sale for almost 25 years, I can assure you that Magic Millions are charming hosts with complimentary luncheons, ringside dining, private pick-ups from the airport and back as well as hospitality galore at the MM complex on sale days. As well the BBQ there late on Sunday March 10 after the inspections of yearlings is a great place to catch up with breeders, consultants and country friends. Catalogues for the MM March Sale should be online from tomorrow and will be available at Callaghan Park from next week.

Also, the Capricornia Yearling Sales are closing in quicky as well coming up on Sunday, April 7. It is preceded by two brilliant and exciting days of racing on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6. Over $600K in prize money will be distributed over the two days. The feature races are the CYS related 2YO Classic of $168K inclusive of QTIS and the $112K CYS 3 & 4YO Classic. The RJC is for the first time offering an incentive package for buyers and vendors. Buyers who invest over $40,000 at the 2024 CYS will have two nights’ accommodation (Friday 5/4 and Saturday, 6/4) supplied or reimbursed by the RJC. Vendors who nominate at least four horses (and go through the Sale ring) will have a night’s accommodation (Saturday, April 6) supplied or reimbursed. The final nominations for yearlings for the CYS are almost closed I believe. I hope trainer Kevin Kemp and owner Dan McManus have underlined the 2022 CYS graduate Ringer’s Reward for the 3&4YO Classic. She has been metropolitan placed at her last couple of starts. Ringer’s Reward was another bargain purchase from the 2022 CYS for $20,000 and has returned her Darling Downs connections almost $165K. The long stretches at Callaghan Park are tailor made for Ringer’s Reward.

Stack of Callaghan Park trainers are on the road again over the next few days so check out your form guides. At Townsville TABs on Thursday Clinton Taylor has Harch Road, Viennawaitforyou, and Janean engaged. All are in sparking form. As well Jared Wehlow heads to Townsville with Fresh Prince, Master Rich and Russian Ruble. Rocky jockey Ashley Butler also makes the trip north as does apprentice Brooke Johnson. At Bowen TABs on Friday, Jared Wehlow backs-up with Master Rich, Lord Vader as well as having Russian Ruble accepted. Throw in Graeme Green (Kentucky Moon, Aleaco), Nick Walsh (Beyond Star), Tasha Chambers (Fight In The Dog) and Peter Fleming (Captain Fox) it is going to be a real meeting of the CP clan. Not forgetting the jockeys of course Dale Evans, McKenzie Apel, Warwick Satterley, Ashley Butler, Nikki Olzard, and Tasha Chambers and Brooke Johnson. See where McKenzie scored a winning double at Cairns races last week. Good on you McKenzie. Also, Peter Fleming has Captain Fox entered for the Sunshine Coast on Friday. 

Finally, heartiest congratulations to former premier Rocky apprentice Tahlia Fenlon on winning her first Saturday metropolitan race last weekend at the Sunshine Coast. This she did on her master Chris Munce’s horse Heroic Miss in a rich QTIS bonus race. As I have stated previously Tahlia is an untapped talent in Brisbane but is now being discovered. Also, the locally owned Coco Brew Express was a winner over 1600 metres at the Sunshine Coast meeting last Saturday as well. He is an ideal Rockhampton Cup type horse as is likely if placed to advantage to come into the race with a very light weight. Oh, what a night it would be at Coco Brew in Rocky if its namesake could win the Cup.

Happy Horses all – Tony McMahon.       

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