Thursday’s racing wrap up & the road to the highly anticipated ’24 Rocky Cup with RJC CEO David Aldred.

Published 23 May 2024

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Cherry Rose completed its picket fence of wins at Callaghan Park yesterday and now her trainer Jamie McConachy is focused on winning next week’s $105,000 Northern Jewel QTIS 3YO Handicap (1400m) at Cannon Park, Cairns. 

Justin Stanley who partnered Cherry Rose to its third consecutive win at its fourth race start will retain the ride. McConachy said he is uncertain what opposition he will meet in Cairns but reckons Cherry Rose will be in the race “right up to her ears”.  “She deserves a shot and when they offer this sort of QTIS money, you have to have a go,” MConachy said. First place in the Jewel carries stakes of $61,000. In a strangely run race at Callaghan Park, 3YO Press Statement filly, Cherry Rose sat off the pace in the Milne Bros. QTIS Handicap (1300m) before working home well to the line to beat Papasito narrowly with Fine Shot finishing third after ducking in when making its run in the straight. Stanley scored an early double when Clinton Taylor’s Single Memo won its first Callaghan Park race in the NAB Regional and Agribusiness Class 3 Plate (1050m). A Toowoomba bred and owned metropolitan race winner, Single Memo had been out of form but a road trip to Townsville helped the 5YO mare get back on track. Single Memo flew out of the barrier landing two lengths clear of her opponents at the start. “I don’t think I have seen one jump as quick,” Taylor said. Ï was worried she may have pushed the gates for a minute, she began so fast.”  Single Memo was taken on for speed by Rubunkar but regained the front by the home turn. Stanley gave her a breather 400 metres out and she had enough in reserve to hold off Pretty Slick and Six Sides.

 

Yesterday (Thursday 23 May), unwanted gelding Played scored at its race debut for Telemon Stud and trainer Natalie McCall in Rocky’s 3YO QTIS Maiden (1300m). Ridden patiently by Samantha Collet, Played ran home resolutely to down frontrunner Rumbling Boy and Time To Turn. McCall said Played was purchased at a sale by a leading Brisbane trainer but was returned to the stud when an abnormality was discovered in a leg. Played  (Sidestep – Playtime) had a sequestrum, a piece of dead bone with the bone tissue separating during necrosis, causing a lump on a leg to develop. The sale was cancelled and Telemon took their horse back and the stud decided to race him themselves. “He is a big unit and looks like he will be better with racing,” McCall said. McCall and Collett had their second win for the day with beautifully bred and named gelding Scribble leading all the way in the Great Northern Maiden Handicap (1000m). A $160,000 yearling from book one of the Magic Million yearling sales, 3YO Scribble has taken time to get his act together after winning early trials beating smart gallopers like high-class filly Party For Two. McCall said the big, well-proportioned son of Written By and Sunday Chill has anxiety problems and the Rocky win will do his confidence the world of good. Scribble fought gamely to hold runner-up Holy Crown and The Eighth I Am. 

One Syndications’ promising galloper Awol is headed for the Rockhampton Carnival Cups after his easy victory in this week’s TAB Class 6 handicap (1400m) at Callaghan Park. Trainer Nick Walsh was impressed with the 4YO Sweynesse gelding’s runaway victory and said that the Tattersall’s Gold Cup (1600m) on 30 June and the $150,000 TAB Rockhampton Cup (1660m), on 13 July look to be likely targets. Ï think he will get better the further that he goes,” Walsh said. Justin Huxtable relaxed Awol after a quick start and sat behind the leaders until the home straight. When the jockey peeled him to the outside, he gave nothing else a chance. One horse that Awol is likely to encounter in his quest for the Cups is dual Rockhampton Cup winner Master Jamie. Trainer Graeme Green had Master Jamie back at the top of his game at Emerald’s Pioneer Park last Saturday. Master Jamie, who is being set for an unprecedented third Rockhampton Cup on turf, had a comfortable win in the $12,500 Emerald Cup (1615m). Ridden by Paul Hamblin, Master Jamie cruised with his 61.5kg and won by 4.25 lengths. With the Quality Handicap conditions for the Rocky Cup, Master Jamie is certain to be there to attempt to take out the feature again. First run in 1918, there has only been one three-time consecutive winner of the Rockhampton Cup The great middle-distance horse Hectique won the race in 1969,1970 and 1971 on the sand. No trainer has won the Rockhampton Cup with the same horse three times in a row so that puts Green in the enviable position of becoming the first to do so. 

Justin Huxtable and trainer Kerrod Smyth combined for a win in the Pink Ribbon Saturday 15 June Class 3 Plate (1600m). Murrajong Road, also a son of Sweynesse was a gallant winner to provide Huxtable with a double after almost being nabbed at the post by The Last Saga.

Last Year’s RJC Horse of The Year, Knights Sword returned to the winners’ circle for the first time this season with a game victory in the Red Lion Open Handicap (1300m) yesterday. Having his second start since last October Knight’s Sword was ridden by Ryan Wiggins and staved off a strong challenge from Sunshine Coast galloper Fastconi. Trainer Ricky Vale explained after the race that Knight’s Sword had to be operated on after a breathing issue was identified. “He had a problem with his epiglottis wasn’t getting enough air,” Vale said. The epiglottis, a flap in the throat that keeps food from entering the windpipe and the lungs, is attached to the entrance of the larynx which stays open during breathing, allowing air to flow into the larynx. Vale said, “The flap wasn’t doing its job and required surgery,” The trainer is hopeful he can return the horse to the same horse he was last season. 

The John O’Sing-trained Jungle Beat ran its second class record in as many weeks at Callaghan Park when he won yesterday’s Rocky Cup 13 July Benchmark 55 Handicap (1200m). Taken straight to the lead by Tahlia Fenlon, Jungle Beat showed his opponents a clean pair of heels to lead throughout and win as he liked, running 1.09.92 for the distance. Palatial Prince and Obliquity filled the minor placings. 

Rocky Amateurs “The Archer” winner, Namazu will race in tomorrow’s Group 3, $300,000 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben for trainer Ricky Vale, jockey Ryan Wiggins and the ownership group managed by Pav Cheimardinov. 

The colossal 6YO gelding who outgunned a pretty classy line-up at Callaghan Park, carrying 59kg at weight-for-age will again meet some of the horses he defeated in the $750,000 Archer and drops 2kg in weight under the Quality Handicap conditions. Namazu has won his last two races with big weights carrying a handicap of 68kg to victory in Mackay over 1300m in March. Wiggins was last on board Namazu in September last year, carrying 60kg and finishing sixth behind Military Gambler, Nikau Spur, and Baanone in the Toowoomba Cup (2000m). The BRC Sprint has a real Rocky Archer flavour. Mishani Sniper, Strait Acer, and Ucalledit, third, fourth, and fifth  behind Namazu, respectively in the Amateurs headliner are all engaged in the Group race today while another Archer runner Super Helpful (9th) will race at Randwick. 

Astapor, Rockhampton’s top 2YO resumes racing at Doomben tomorrow to shoot for his biggest race success in the $1 million Magic Millions National 2YO Classic (1050m). Trainer Clint Taylor says the colt, who has won two of his three race starts, is spot on for tomorrow’s race and deserves his shot at the big prizemoney. Justin Stanley, who has ridden Astapor in each race will again be in the saddle. Astapor is drawn ideally at barrier five. The son of Tassort and Brown Mink won on debut over 1050m at Callaghan Park last November before backing up a fortnight later to win at Doomben over 1110m. He closed his first campaign with a fourth placing in the Bruce McLachlan Stakes won by Storm Boy (1200m) late in December. 

Saturday, 15 June at Callaghan Park is shaping up to be a showstopping race day at Callaghan Park. The inaugural Pink Ribbon Charity race day will have something for everyone in the family and it’s all for a great cause, to support the Breast and Prostate Cancer Association of QLD.  The RJC will donate all gate proceeds from the race day to the charity and racegoers can get involved by purchasing a Pink Ribbon pin at the gate to go into the draw for an Argle “Pink” Diamond. Someone will win the $3,000 prize, courtesy of Phil Peel Jewellers, which will be drawn during the afternoon’s race program. Jockeys will don pink riding pants to show their support in finding cures and prevention of Breast Cancer. As well as activities for the family, the RJC also has organised a Ladies’ Lunch to support the cause. For more details visit our website: www.callaghanpark.com.au

There are still one or two race naming sponsorships available for races on the 2024 “One Syndications” Rockhampton Newmarket Handicap Race Day at Callaghan Park. The feature race day on 12 July 2024 is showcased to Rocky racing’s biggest audience on track and those who tune into the fabulous annual TAB Rockhampton Cup weekend via SKY Racing and Radio TAB. Naming rights start from just $1,100 per race and come with great benefits so it’s a good way for local businesses to put their name up in lights at one of the region’s biggest sporting events. For more details contact the RJC at admin@rjc.com.au or  07 4937 4000. 

Our next Race Meeting at Callaghan Park is Friday 31 May. The race program features two QTIS races. The 2YO carries total stakes of $53,000 for QTIS fillies and $47,000 for QTIS colts and geldings, with $35,000 for non-QTIS horses. The 3YO has $39,000 on offer for QTIS fillies, $33,000 for colts and geldings, and $21,000 for non-QTIS horses. 

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