Racing AROUND Rocky

Published 7 December 2022

Racing AROUND Rocky

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Rockhampton jockey Ash Butler has been literally flying of late sitting on sixth place in the Queensland jockeys’ rankings with 36 winners for the season. Well on Friday he will be flying (as in airborne) heading north to Darwin for three rides at Fanny Bay racecourse on Saturday. He received an SOS from former Rocky based jockey Sonja Wiseman, the partner of trainer Tommy Logan. “Sonja had to have surgery on her wrist and they asked if I would come up to help them out on Saturday. Apparently, there is a bit of a jockey’s shortage there (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). I always wanted to ride there and as they are paying my way, I thought why not. Apparently, it is hot up there in Darwin and I am not too good in that”, Ash told me. For the record it is predicted to be 36 degrees in Darwin on Saturday but 39 degrees in Rocky tomorrow (Thursday). So, I reckon you’ll be right Ash. His likely rides are the Logan trained Virtuous Miss, Freddy The Eagle and Euphegena. I contacted Sonja Wiseman and she advised having surgery on a wrist injury in Darwin on Monday. Sonja Wiseman is currently the runaway leader on 31 winners on the Northern Territory Jockeys Premiership. In fourth place is Jessie Philpot on 11. Jessie was a former Rocky track work rider while also assisting as Clerk of The Course at Callaghan Park. Like Sonja, she is doing an amazing job in her jockeying career. Jessie 27, last year became the first female jockey to win a Darwin Cup aboard Highly Decorated.
Good news coming to hand from Rockhampton Jockey Club CEO Ian Mill in relation to next year’s Capricornia Yearling Sale Racing Carnival. It was announced just a few weeks back that the prize purse for the 2023 CYS 2YO Classic (1200m) has been elevated to $150,000 on Saturday April 1. Similarly, the CYS 3&4YO Championship (1300m) goes from $75K to $100K. Better still the races will also provide QTIS bonuses. Furthermore, Racing Queensland will provide a CYS voucher worth $20K to the winning connections of each of those two races but it has to be spent going towards a purchase at the Capricornia Yearling Sale the next day at the Rockhampton Showgrounds on Sunday, April 2. How good is that? Very good I say! Also, Ian tells me that any filly sold from the 2023 CYS draft that wins a QTIS race during the following season (or seasons – not just clear on all the specific details, momentarily) will be paid double the filly’s winning bonus in such race. Certainly, an incentive to purchase at the Rocky sale in 2023.
Things are hotting up for the 2023 CYS 2YO Classic as a sales graduate from this year in Bush Diamond, a Spirit of Boom colt which fetched $50K won the first race at Mackay on Tuesday the QTIS 2YO Maiden (1050m) earning $20,700 in the process. The colt, sold on behalf of Hopetoun Farm acting as agents for Eureka Stud, Cambooya was purchased by Alan and Jennifer Acton. It is the first horse the couple have had with trainer Clinton Taylor who goes from strength to strength. Bush Diamond, a name in keeping with the country theme of the Acton’s horses (remember Outback Barbie) no doubt will head down the track to the $150K CYS 2YO Final next April. Clinton Taylor struck again at Mackay later winning the QTIS 3YO with Seductive Spur a bargain buy Jet Spur filly for $5000 at the 2021 CYS for Scott Ferguson. Wait for it, first prize money with the QTIS bonuses including that for fillies was $24,950. What an advertisement for the CYS. Not forgetting of course last Saturday at Callaghan Park, Clinton won the QTIS 3YO Handicap with Ashiko Bay sold by Gunn Alley Farm, Widgee for $17.5K at the 2021 CYS. Kobayashi gelding Ashiko Bay has now accrued $47,100 for Taroom owner Rodney Hay. Any wonder Clinton told me “I love winning QTIS races”. Now, back to another 2YO graduate from the Rocky sale this year and Showtime youngster Arbat displayed considerable potential for the Will and Peter Hulbert stable when a debut third at Doomben last weekend. It cost local enthusiastic owner Pav Cheimardinov $28K at the 2022 CYS and picked-up $10.5K for the placing with the promise of much more to come. Naturally, the plan will be for Arbat to contest the big CYS 2YO here next April. Then there was Ringer’s Reward, an Under The Louvre sold by Grandview Stud for $20K at the same sale and she collected $30,250 for her win at the Sunshine Coast last Friday night. No guessing where Ringer’s Reward will be next April – Rockhampton! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, graduates from the CYS just keep on winning!
Speaking to Clinton Taylor this morning (Wednesday Dec 7) and he reports that his star filly Chinny Boom is now spelling at Embrook Stables, a specialist equine property at Beaudesert. “They do a fantastic job”, he said. Chinny Boom, had no luck whatsoever courageously going down by a nose in the LR The Mode (1200m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday. “She was so brave and answered a lot of questions as to running out a strong 1200 metres”, Taylor said. He also complemented his Country Stampede (1110m) runner Attackabeel saying “you could make a case in question that she should have finished much closer”. For the record, Attackabeel ran 1.5 lengths fifth behind winner Dynamic Verse with stewards reporting “being held-up on entering the straight”. Certainly, confirms Clinton’s race assessment so keep Attackabeel in mind next start.
Terrific training effort as well from Callaghan Park’s Kristie Clark-Peoples in preparing Centaur, the game third placegetter in last Sat’s $200K Country Cups Challenge Final (1600m), to maintain his form over a long campaign. Family-owned Centaur was having his 10th start this campaign which commenced on June 18. He had done his share of travelling as well having raced and won at Townsville and Longreach while earning prize money at Cairns, Yeppoon, Gladstone and Gympie. “I knew it was a big step in grade for him but he handled it so well and Jimmy (Byrne – jockey) said he is up to a city race in the future. He spells now. I sent a thank you to Racing Queensland for the function they provided for all the visiting bush participants as they treated us in style and it was an amazing weekend”, Kristie said. Take a bow Kristie as it takes a good trainer to do what you did with Centaur. Similarly, to all the out-of-town trainers who trekked the thousands of kilometres to qualify their horses to get to the series finals at Doomben. Well done!
No, I haven’t forgotten the win of Echo Point and Emerald trainer Raymond Williams in the Final at Doomben as saving that for my other column Racing Around Central Queensland later in the week.
Quite impressed by the winning rides from Brisbane’s Jackson Murphy at Callaghan Park races last Saturday. His effort on Thangool trainer Pat Brennan’s Kravitz was a prime example of patience during the early and middle stages and persistence in the latter part. The ride on Ashiko Bay was also meritorious with patience after a poor getaway and drive at the finish. I had never met Jackson Murphy before last Saturday but I liked the way he rode the Callaghan Park circuit particularly down the long straight. Before then, I didn’t know him “from a bar of soap” but I since have noticed he has ridden extensively and won almost 40 races in Brisbane. From what I saw last Saturday, I feel Jackson 26 would do well if he became a regular on the Rockhampton and northern circuit.
What an effort from Callaghan Park, Rockhampton trainers Clinton Taylor (2), Ricky Vale (2), Nick Walsh (2), Kerrod Smyth (1) and Craig Russell (1) winning eight of the nine races at the Mackay TAB races on Tuesday. Tracy Simmons was the only Mackay trainer to win scoring with Wit under vastly improving former Rocky apprentice Nicole Seymour. Furthermore, Rocky trainers provided another nine placegetters. They have an amazing winning strike rate at Mackay – just a matter of picking the right ones.
Don’t forget the big Christmas Family Fun Day race meeting at Callaghan Park coming up on Friday week, December 16.

HOOFNOTE: Credit where credit due. Superb effort by Callaghan Park track manager Trent Williams and his team to present the track in such quality condition for last Saturday’s RJC meeting. The track rating was changed by stewards from a Soft 5 to a Good 4 after the running of the first race. That’s after 165.5mm of rain leading up to the meeting earlier to after midweek. Williams predicted that the track rating could be upgraded when I penned a race preview last Friday. Track managers everywhere at times cop their share of flak, always have and always will, so in all fairness compliments should go their way when applicable.

Tony McMahon.

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