Racing AROUND Rocky – with Tony McMahon

Published 16 March 2022

Racing AROUND Rocky – with Tony McMahon

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After being a racing correspondent all over the place for 50 years now, the question is often asked of me “would that be a first and some sort of record”?

Understandably, records for unusual occurrences involving horse racing are not easily accessible or even maintained apart outside of course major metropolitan race clubs and high-profile events.

That question or assumption involving a first, popped-up on my phone last Sunday morning from a text on Saturday night from Rockhampton race broadcaster Russell Leonard.

It read – “John Kele and Sandy Bauman owned the winners (Boom Raider (Rockhampton -Callaghan Park -Race 1) and Cocobrew Express -Eagle Farm – Race 1). Could be a first for a winner in Brisbane and a winner in Rockhampton today (same day) for the same connections’’?

Considering the first horse racing meeting was held at Eagle Farm, Brisbane in 1865 and the very first at Callaghan Park racecourse in 1898, how on earth could you check for such an occurrence?

I’ve always found the safest answer is to say “it was almost assuredly a first”.

The word “almost” is like having an insurance policy because you can bet your life if you say something was a first without knowing for sure, some smartie (I can think of a better expression) will come up with something to make you look like an idiot.

Granted not hard to do in my case!

So, Russell I would say it’s a pretty safe bet that what occurred last Saturday with Boom Raider and Cocobrew Express is “almost assuredly a first”.

One step further as the races were run just 44 minutes apart – yes DEFINITELY a first.

Cocobrew Express is another quaintly named 2YO sired by the defunct Spill The Beans – a name which immediately conjures up the thought of coffee beans.

Of course, Coco Brew Express is a new drive through coffee outlet in Rockhampton in which I believe John Kele is associated.

Just imagine the promotional value those associated with the horse and business outlet, including Robin Adams would get with Cocobrew Express being floated through the driveway and served a coffee?

Cocobrew Express was bred by Werner Quast and purchased by trainer Tom Button (also shares in ownership of Boom Raider) for $25K at last year’s March MM Gold Coast Yearling Sales.

Astute buy Tommy as Coco has already returned $112,475 in just seven starts for a Rocky and Brisbane win.

Incidentally, Quast also bred the Button stable’s money spinner The Tax Accountant who the trainer bought at the 2017 Capricornia Yearling Sales for $48K and was returned $275K so far.

Tom Button, formerly a multiple winning RJC trainer is building an imposing record since producing his first runner Craiglea Pursuit in February 2009 and his debut winner Craiglea Convict in Rocky on March, 2 that year.

Craiglea Convict brings back memories as I ended up winning a Yeppoon Newmarket (Alisha Taylor) and a Middlemount Cup (Mark Barnham) with him.

Tom has now trained 270 winners of about $4.5M in prize money.

Those figures will soon be bettered as he advances to a new complex in Canungra while his Townsville operation churns out winners galore.


No doubt Button and his entourage of Rocky and CQ owners will be active at both Magic Millions March Sales next Monday and Tuesday and the Capricornia Yearling Sales here on April 10.

I’ll be surprised if the team don’t chase Lot 286 from Jan Clark’s Daandine Stud the Winning Rupert- Schipper colt.

That’s a given as the colt is a full brother to star youngster from the Button camp in Jemeldi while he and the team raced the half-brother Rollinwiththeflow which earned about $277K.

It’s a magic catalogue pedigree page.

Who knows what they will buy at the CYS but you can bet your bottom dollar as usual they will be out in force with fingers popping up signifying bids?

Great theatre yearling sales but I wish they would bar me – I am a junkie in that department.

“She Who Must Be Obeyed” (wife Jean) has threatened to bandage my hands and hobble them so I can’t bid at the Gold Coast and Rocky.

Don’t tell her I have a very loud voice for goodness’ sake!


Congratulations due to Callaghan Park apprentice Alisha Donald for a career first riding four winners at Bundaberg races last Saturday.

Alisha 23 and indentured to Tim Cook at Callaghan Park has now ridden 30 winners since her first ride at Bowen on Jin

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