RJC CEO David Aldred: ‘Perfect racing deck’ for 3rd race meeting in 15 days at Callaghan Park.

Published 2 May 2024

RJC CEO David Aldred: ‘Perfect racing deck’ for 3rd race meeting in 15 days at Callaghan Park.

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A great  round up of local racing thanks to RJC CEO David Aldred:

The big prize on offer at last Sunday’s Rocky Amateurs stayed local with trainer Ricky Vale’s tough Namazu running its rivals off their legs in the $775,000 The Archer (1300m) at Callaghan Park.
Vale is one of Rockhampton’s leading trainers and his achievement to, first, get his sprinter into the race, and then win it was remarkable.
Racing in the slot for Yeppoon-based businesswoman Karla McPhail, Namazu was given a gem of a ride by local jockey Ashley Butler, who incredibly has now won two of the three editions of the richest race north of Queensland’s south-east corner. Butler rode the inaugural Archer winner, Emerald Kingdom in 2022. Namazu, who dropped 9 kgs in handicapped weight from his previous Mackay win to carry 59kgs under the set weight for age scale in The Archer, was allowed to stride freely in front by Butler. “I wasn’t worried about the wide draw, I knew I had speed outside of me in Master Jamie,” Butler said. “I got a couple of cheap sectionals mid-race and I just let him run in the straight. I knew when I straightened it was going to take a damn good horse to run me down.” Namazu won by almost a length from Lavish Empire (Josh Parr) with Mishani Sniper (Robbie Dolan) a length away in third place. The heavily backed race favourite Strait Acer finished just behind the trio after being given his chance to win in the long 600m straight.
In winning The Archer, Namazu took his career earnings to over $1,000,000. A 6yo by Megalia D’oro from Earthquake has now won 13 of his 40 race starts.
Racing industry leaders, Queensland’s Racing Minister Grace Grace and Racing Queensland CEO Jason Scott were among those at Callaghan Park to support the event. Racegoers were treated to a feast of racing with top trainers and southern jockeys competing. The feature support race, The Fitzroy (1300m) was won by Sir Warwick, trained in Toowoomba by Jake Capewell and ridden by Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michael Rodd, while the Rocky Amateur’s Cup (1600m) was won by local Devil Kick, trained by Kerrod Smyth and ridden by Robbie Dolan. Justin Stanley and Dolan shared the riding honours both getting winning doubles while other winning riders were Andrew Mallyon and Emily Lang.
The Rocky Amateurs announced that The Archer is set to be even bigger in 2025 with prizemoney increasing to $1 million and the race winner receiving an automatic entry into the state’s richest race, the $3 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June 2025.

Les ‘Bubba’ Tilley didn’t get the results he hoped for at The Archer but he was back on top of the world 24 hours later, riding a winning treble at Thangool. 

Tilley started the eight-race card with a winner, steering the Graeme Green-trained Desert Grit to victory in the QTIS Maiden (1200m), then won the BM60 (1600m) on Ruby’s Lad  for Paul Wallace, before winning the BM 45 (1200m) for Clinton Taylor on Obilquity.

17-year-old apprentice jockey Jaimie-Lee Devine had her first race ride on her home track at Thangool on Monday and she made sure it was a memorable one.
The newbie apprentice who first gained race riding experience in jump outs in Rockhampton, joined an elite club to win the race on debut.
Devine rode the aptly named Imagine That trained at the Thangool track, south-west of Rockhampton by her dad, former jockey Jason Devine, and her victory was a real family celebration with her mother Edwina, the Thangool Race Club secretary, the winning owner. With the apprentice’s 4kg claim Imagine That carried 57.5kg in the BM 45 Handicap (1200m) and won by 1.5 lengths from Richunclemoneybags (Tom Orr) with Chilli Palmer (Tash Chambers) 2.5 lengths away in third place. Ms. Devine was only notified three days before the race that her apprentice race riding license had been approved. What an incredible start to the talented young lady’s career.

The RJC had its third race meeting in 15 days on Thursday with a perfect racing deck produced for each race meeting by the track management team.

There were 12 races including the Capricornia Yearling Sale 2YO Classic and Capricornia Yearling Sale 3 & 4 YO Classic raced at Callaghan Park on 18 April, then 10 days later, last Sunday, the Rocky Amateurs raced an 8-event card including the rich $775,000 The Archer. On Thursday six races were run at Callaghan Park. Trent Williams and the track team produced the track in super order for each race meeting.

The Craig Smith-trained Acedrod picked up a nice consolation for finishing second in the Capricornia Yearling Sale 2YO Classic last month with a fighting victory in the QTIS 2YO Maiden (1200m) at Callaghan Park on Thursday.

Despite not travelling well in the run, Acedrod (Les Tilley) found the line well enough to hold out the fast-finishing Outback Bandit (Justin Huxtable) and scored its first race victory at its second race start. Tilley said Acedrod did travel well. “By the 200 metres I was looking for the string (line),” he said. But Acedrod showed a touch of class, holding off Outback Bandit when challenged and tested over the last 100 metres. 

Toowoomba galloper Pannier looked like a good thing in the Class 1 Plate (1500m) at Callaghan Park on Thursday, and won like it, romping away for trainer Mark Currie and jockey Justin Huxtable. “I didn’t realise how far I was in front,” Huxtable quipped as he unsaddled the winner, a four-year-old gelding by Tavistock from the Testa Rossa mare My My Maree. Pannier won by almost six lengths from General Wolfee (Tahlia Fenlon) with Young Henry (Les Tilley) in third place. It was the first leg of a winning double for Currie with Georgina Cartwright winning the very next race on the stable’s rising 8YO gelding Doctor Teekay in the Class 6 Plate (1300m). Doctor Teekay defeated Fastconi Justin Stanley) and Kahayani (Tahlia Fenlon). Cartwright’s luck changed from earlier in the day when her luggage failed to arrive with her flight from Brisbane. The jockey borrowed gear from the other girls to get through the day. Ironically the riding pants she borrowed from Alisha Donald passed the post first again later in the day. Donald rode the Matt Kropp-trained Makin’ Statements to win the Maiden 1300 metres.

Queen of the bargains, Natalie McCall was rewarded for her excellent judgment when race debutante Cryptic Prism won the Maiden Handicap (1100m). McCall who only decided to bring Cryptic Prism to Rocky as a travelling mate for Fastconi was pleasantly surprised by the 3YO gelding win at its first race start. Ït’s a big win to win first up here with the big straight, especially when you have never seen it before,” she said. Cryptic Prism raced greenly but was expertly ridden by Justin Stanley to get home narrowly from She’sgotaccess (Tahlia Fenlon) and race favourite Lost My Nightie (Georgina Cartwright). McCall who bought the winner for just $1,000 online, said the good-looking brown galloper by Encryption from Iredescente, was a “bargain”. Iredescente was raced by Sheikh Mohammed and won two races in Victoria when trained by Anthony Freedman. In 2022 Cryptic Prism sold as a yearling to Trilogy Racing for $250,000 but it was discovered that he had allergies and was put up for auction online. In December last year, McCall snapped up the gelding for the giveaway price with just one bid.

Clinton Taylor closed Thursday’s race meeting at Callaghan Park with a winner. I’m Bluey was ridden a gem of a race by Samantha Collett and won the Class 1 Handicap (1300m). Collett rode the 3YO at its previous start in the 3&4YO Capricornia Sale Classic (1300m) and even though it ran seventh, she was convinced it could win her next start. Her judgment was spot on. 

Journeyman trainer Bevan “Bill” Johnson has pencilled in bush legend Fab’s Cowboy’s swan song.
Johnson said Fab’s Cowboy, an iconic galloper on the state’s country racetracks, will farewell racing at Longreach on 27 July in the Club’s Open Sprint (SW) over 1200m. The 12YO recorded his 54th win last weekend at Mt Isa.
His modern-day record stands at 153 starts: 54 wins; 31 seconds and 13 thirds. His prizemoney is $438,930. The gelding that has developed a cult-like following is stallion Greenwood Lake (USA) best performer. From the mare Real Live Woman, Fab’s Cowboy was foaled in a heat wave in 2011 and weaned during a drought. He raced for the first time nearly four years later at Roma in 2015 and ran 9th of 11 starters. He scored his first win in a Gladstone Maiden Handicap in 2015. Thoroughbreds face mandatory retirement when they turn 13 years. In Australia, the horse’s birthday is the 1st day in August.

If you’re thinking about celebrating the 2024 Rockhampton Winter Racing Carnival, the tip is to reserve your booking now. This year the Carnival will unofficially get underway with the Pink Robbin Charity Day, with events raising funds and the awareness of breast cancer. Callaghan Park will go “Pink” on Saturday 15 June for the race day. The annual Carnival gets into full swing on Friday 28 June with the RJC Tattersall’s Sprint, followed by the RJC Tattersall’s Cup – Sunday 30 June. The feature Rockhampton Newmarket Day is Friday, 12 July with the Calcutta Dinner for the Rockhampton Cup held the same night. The Carnival will climax on Saturday 13 July with the running of the time-honoured Rockhampton Cup. The RJC’s events manager Nicole Janes says the tickets for each event are selling fast, so book early to avoid disappointment. For all the information log on to the RJC’s Callaghan Park website www.callaghanpark.com.au

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