Special guests for Rockhampton Cup Calcutta Dinner announced shortly.

Published 5 June 2024

Special guests for Rockhampton Cup Calcutta Dinner announced shortly.

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Busy times ahead for the RJC out at Callaghan Park with the Winter Carnival race meetings fast approaching. It commences iwith the time-honoured Tattersall’s Sprint and Tatts Cup. These feature races are now part of the RJC’s Carnival program run over two days – Friday, June 28 (Sprint) and Sunday, June 30 (Cup). They lead into the $100K Rockhampton Newmarket (1300m), part of a glamour eight race TAB program on Friday, July 12. Saturday, July 13 features the star of the show, the $150K Rockhampton Cup (1600m). If my maths is correct, some $919,000 prizemoney including bonuses, is there to be won on the two main race days. 

The RJC will again offer bonus schemes for trainers over the two days of the Newmarket and Rockhampton Cup race meetings. The TAB sponsor the $20K funding for the overall top trainers results while the RJC sponsors the $5000 for the best results from a local trainer. RJC CEO David Aldred said it is quite possible that a locally based Rockhampton trainer could win both. As has been the case in recent years, a points system of 3 (win); two (2nd) and 1 (3rd) will be applicable. It certainly is an alluring incentive to race at Callaghan Park over the two days. I asked David if the RJC had any guest jockeys coming for the Newmarket-Cup days. “The RJC is currently speaking with two very high-profile southern riders as guests to speak at the Calcutta (Friday evening July 12 at Callaghan Park) and ride both days. We are hopeful of locking in the guest rider by early next week,” he said. It has been a long tradition to bring the cream of Australian jockeys up to the top in Rockhampton for the Carnival. Peter Cook was a sensation back in 1992 and 30 years later (2022) William Pike was a huge hit. Looking forward to the announcement next week.

Trainer Graeme Green outlined plans for Master Jamie’s tilt at winning his third successive Rocky Cup, when I spoke to him earlier yesterday (Tuesday). “He will start next in the Wayne Wilson (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 15 and then go into the Rocky Cup,” Graeme said. The Wayne Wilson is run under Weight For Age conditions. Graeme knows Master Jamie like the back of his hand and now rising eight years old (Jamie not Graeme) and the winner of $1,077,325, he loves his races spaced. For the record, only the Callaghan Park sand track champion Hectique has won three successive Rocky Cups (1969, 1970 and1971). The feat has never been accomplished on the turf track since it was installed in 1984. Incidentally, Les “Bubba” Tilley will be attempting a record four wins in a Rockhampton Cup. Preceding his dual wins on Jamie he won the 150th anniversary Rockhampton Cup on Mamselle Corday in 2018. From my perusal of the records, no jockey has won four Rockhampton Cups since jockey J. Hull won the first Rocky Cup on Rolad in 1918. There is another “certainty” you can bet your life if I am incorrect, I will soon be notified.

Graeme Green and Les Tilley were out in force at the RJC’s meeting last Friday sharing three winners. Both are enjoying very good seasons. The Rocky treble brought up Green’s seventh winner for May. Actually, he saddled up five consecutive winners last week with a double at Mackay on the Monday preceding the treble at Callaghan Park four days later.  After his treble last Friday, Bubba Tilley rode a winner at Kilcoy on the Sunday. They team together at Mackay races on Thursday with unraced Mahia (Race 2 -TAB 10). Tilley has four rides there while Rockhampton trainers supply 38 of the 104 acceptors.

The RJC is going all out promoting the Pink Ribbon Race Day at Callaghan Park on Saturday, June 15. It has much planned with proceeds going to Breast Screen Rockhampton. The RJC’s Facebook and Callaghan Park’s website will enlighten you with what is occurring including luncheons and cocktail style options as well as an After Party with Live Music. By purchasing a pink ribbon during the race day, purchasers’ names go into the draw to win an Argyle Pink Diamond valued at $3000. No prizes for knowing the giving sponsors – Kerry and David Peel of Phill Peel Jeweller. Regrettably, those demons Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer have more than likely violated someone close to us all. Funding is the best way to fight back so I urge you all to support the Pink Ribbon Race Day on Saturday week.  

Rockhampton’s Tahlia Fenlon, 21 has certainly come of age as a jockey since as an apprentice she became indentured to former champion jockey and now highly successful trainer Chris Munce in Brisbane. Tahlia’s judgement in a race particularly at perfecting the timing of her runs on her mounts has improved out of sight. She has become a devotee of patience and can ride her mounts out strongly when required. She is really coming under the notice of not only Brisbane trainers but visiting mentors from interstate wintering in Brisbane. Winter racing in Brisbane and South-East Queensland presents the most difficult time of the year for local senior jockeys to compete for rides let alone apprentices featuring. Yet, T. Fenlon has been getting mounts in the city of late. In the 30 day period from Saturday, May 4 to Sunday, June 2 inclusive, Tahlia has managed to more than compete and ride 10 winners including a city winner at Eagle Farm for premier trainer Tony Gollan. Tahlia has a reputation for dedication and is a disciple of hard work. Good on you Tahlia and I would never say nor ever let alone report it unless I meant it. 

Rockhampton racing’s second equine millionaire Namazu has been allocated 59.5kg in Saturday’s $160K LR Spear Chief (1500m) at Eagle Farm and trainer Ricky Vale advises his stable star will run “unless the rain comes in again.” Let’s hope it doesn’t as Namazu, the recent winner of the Rocky Amateurs $775K The Archer, is really packing a big punch presently. A win would possibly improve Namazu’s order of entry in the $3M GR 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 15. Currently he is 46th and allocated 51kg. Even now many of the horses above Namazu have been declared non-starters in the big one. One of the essential credentials required to be a racehorse trainer or owner is to have a certificate in “dreaming”. I say that with respect and sincerity as I am overqualified at dreaming. However, on occasions they do come true.

Happy Horses everyone and please if you can, support the Pink Ribbon Race Day at Callaghan Park on June 15. Tony McMahon.

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