The biggest race meeting in the history of Rockhampton racing!

Published 10 April 2024

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Next Thursday (April 18) could well be the biggest race meeting – numerically speaking on the criteria of race numbers, ever staged in the history of Rockhampton racing since its inaugural race day on July 25, 1868. The simple reason is that 12 races have been framed through the addition of four from the original schedule. It’s been well documented that the $168K CYS 2YO Classic (1200m); the $118K 3 & 4YO Classic (1300m) and the Open (1200m) washed out from last Saturday will be run on Thursday with fresh nominations being taken. As well an Open Handicap (1500m) is additional to the original card. Entries for the entire Thursday, April 18 program close at 11am this Friday. All eyes will be on the RISA page when they are posted. \

An added benefit to the transfer of the feature program from last Saturday will be that Brisbane metropolitan jockeys booked to ride there last weekend can now take rides in Rockhampton if they so wish. This is the case with multiple Brisbane premiership winning jockey Jim Byrne who has around an amazing 3000 winners alongside his name. Almost half of those have been recorded at Eagle Farm and Doomben. As well according to that informative authority, Racing and Sports, Jim has won seven GR 1 during his career. I first met him at a Callaghan Park Winter Carnival meeting in June 1988 when his master Pat Duff introduced him to me as “Tony this is Jim Byrne my new apprentice.” Jim has rides in both CYS feature races next Thursday but is available as of today (Wednesday) for all other races. New Zealand riding starlet Samantha Collett, who now calls Brisbane home, is also Rocky bound next week. She has a ride in the 3 &4YO Classic. “Sam” has ridden almost 1050 winners, including three at GR 1 level. She too knows the Callaghan Park circuit well from previous riding expeditions here. Pretty “handy pair’’ aren’t they alongside the riding ranks at Callaghan Park next Thursday? Anyhow trainers, if you are chasing a jockey both are available and can be engaged through their manager Cameron Partington on 0433-329395.

The inclement weather last weekend and the rescheduling of the CYS 2YO Classic has had flow on effects across many aspects of delivering a meeting, and unfortunately impacted many industry stakeholders and our members. This includes the sold out and very successful CYS 2YO Classic Calcutta dinner conducted Friday evening. Under The Rules of Racing under which we operate, the 2YO race is now open to new acceptances and a new barrier draw. Consequently, most of the successful buyers at the Calcutta have had their funds reimbursed. If you are a buyer that we haven’t yet been able to reach, would you kindly contact the RJC team on 4937 4000 or email

There will be interest aplenty at the Callaghan Park barrier trials commencing from 8am Thursday. The Ricky Vale trained Namazu is among the nominations for Trial 3 (900m). Namazu is also a race acceptor for Race 6, the 1050m Open 1050m at Mackay the same day (Thursday, April 10). The giant t horse was allocated a massive 69kg, but apprentice McKenzie Apel would have reduced that by two kilograms through her allowance. Late on Wednesday, Ricky Vale advised his preference was to trial Namazu at Callaghan Park. “I’ll trial him hopefully. Couldn’t take the risk that the trials wouldn’t go ahead, so Mackay was a back-up plan.” Namazu of course was the first horse declared by slot holders Karla and Peter Mc Phail for The Archer at Callaghan Park on Sunday, April 28.

As for another The Archer bound Rocky horse, Chinny Boom, she has not yet been declared a definite runner at Doomben on Saturday. Chinny Boom, has accepted for the $105K Open Quality (1200m) and under non-claiming apprentice jockey Cejay Graham, has 58kg to lug from the outside barrier of nine. The false rail at Doomben will be out 3.5 metres and the track condition at acceptance time Wednesday morning was a Soft 6. Plenty for trainer Clinton Taylor to chew over in the next few days. “I’ll make a decision (whether Chinny Boom runs or not) on Saturday morning,” Clinton told me today (Wednesday).

Good luck to local apprentice Brooke Johnson with her quest to win the Darwin heat of the National Apprentices Challenge being held at Fanny Bay racecourse on Friday. Brooke of course will represent Queensland just as Tahlia Fenlon did a few weeks back in South Australia. Brooke, with 82 winners in less than two full seasons of riding, has three rides in Darwin which will be televised I believe on SKY. Congratulations to former Callaghan Park apprentice jockey Nikki Olzard on her four winners at the Longreach Jockey Club TAB races last Monday. That’s 43 winners for her now in a relatively short time. Excellent.

I feel after being in the game for just under 60 years, I know a good horse when I see one. After the stylish win of Sir Grace (NZ) under the guile and passive riding of his jockey-trainer Warwick Satherley last Friday at Callaghan Park, I said just that and a little more. “Warwick that is a Cups horse (in the making) if ever I have seen one.” A rival jockey in earshot somewhat known for his jocularity, jested vocally, albeit in good humour (I hope) questioning my statement. Well, I will repeat it again here right now – “Sir Grace is a Cups horse in the making if ever I have seen one.” Yes jockey “X’’ it is ä big statement but considering I have been in “the game” for longer than three decades before you were born,” I feel qualified to call it. Sure, I may be wrong, but I would like to think more times than not I am correct. It is all good banter folks but seriously Sir Grace is a very good horse and Warwick Satherley more so as a jockey. He seems to have an ïn-built clock.

Hope the weather Gods shine on Rockhampton over the remainder of April.

Happy Horses Tony Mc Mahon.


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