Will it be history in the making for local jockey Tash Chambers & Sunfall?

Published 5 July 2024

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Well just a few more sleeps before the RJC Winter Carnival of Racing is upon us. All the social activities which are associated with it are well advertised on this Facebook Page which has been pointed out so often of late. So before logging out of this page ensure you read the posts so as not to miss an opportunity. Racing wise next Friday heralds, the running of the 105th Rockhampton Newmarket (1300m) offering a purse of $100K plus bonuses. This year’s race meeting is called One Syndications Newmarket Day thanks to the generous sponsorship of that local and successful syndication group.  Entries for the time-honoured Newmarket first run in 1918 when won by Cloudy fall due this coming Monday at 11am. If you are mathematicians, you may feel I have the vintage of the Newmarket incorrect stating it will be its 105th running. Good point but the RJC Carnival was not run in 1919 because of the outbreak of influenza which brought about many deaths. These included that of the RJC Secretary R.W. Dawbarn. This I sourced from that informative publication Historical Happenings – Celebrating 150 years of RJC Racing. That first Rockhampton Newmarket offered prize money of 300 pounds – huge money at the time. Interestingly the only dead-heat in the Newmarket occurred in 1931 between Yellowette and Clarius. From a local perspective the greatest achievements in more recent times were the John O’Sing trained, and Adrian Coome ridden Our Boy Malachi winning in 2013 and 2014. The managing owner was the late Col Donovan who had a passion for racing and its stakeholders. Anyhow while there are none of the calibre of Our Boy Malachi currently in the Rocky sprinting ranks, let’s hope locals acquit themselves well. All eyes will be on the list of names entered for the One Syndications Rockhampton Newmarket at closing time on Monday.

Naturally, the following day, Saturday, July 13, brings on the $150K TAB Rockhampton Cup (1600m) and here the locals are well and truly in contention. The Graeme Green Callaghan Park trained Master Jamie is chasing history in that he is after his third consecutive Rockhampton Cup. So will his Cup be winning jockey Les Tilley who rode Master Jamie in both Rocky Cup wins while having won it previously in 2018 on Mamselle Corday. Tilley and Adrian Coome (Writer (2012), Ruling Force (2016) and Colour Charge (2017) currently share the record for the most wins of the Cup since it was first run on turf in 1985 (Daldiere- John Winter) won for trainer Barry Baldwin. Master Jamie will be opposed by his fellow local millionaire horse, the Ricky Vale trained and Pav Cheimardinov managed Namazu the winner of the $775K The Archer (1300m) a few months back. As far as I am concerned Namazu’s unplaced effort in last Sunday’s Tatts Cup (1600m) was first class considering he lumped 70.5kg. Eyeing off Namazu in his pre-race parade I noted he would benefit from the run. Don’t worry he will as the run would have tightened the big cove up a bit. Also noted in a stewards report this week published after Thursday’s Mackay meeting which I will quote from in full. “Trainer R. Vale reported that blood tests taken from Namazu were indicative of dehydration and the gelding has been treated accordingly. Will continue with its preparation to run in the Rockhampton Cup.” As well as the above-mentioned pair, the locally owned Cocobrew Express, the winner two starts back in Brisbane, has to be respected.  Entries for TAB Rockhampton Cup and associated races close on Monday at 11am.

Another piece of history is in the making as well through the engagement of local jockey Tash Chambers for Rodney Hay, Chinchilla trained Sunfall the runner up in the 2023 Rocky Cup. His run for Tash was excellent in the Tattersalls Cup when a close second behind Under The Cap. “He is the real deal this fellow”, Tash Chambers told trainer Hay while cuddling Sunfall just before she was to dismount in the runner-up’s stall. Speaking from his Chinchilla base today, Rodney Hay confirmed that he had booked Tash Chambers for the Cup ride on Sunfall. “She didn’t do anything wrong on him last Sunday and has now ridden him twice (at Rocky) for two seconds. She knows the horse, which I think is a good thing. The weight he gets in the Cup is a worry though and she may have to ride a little overweight,” Rodney said. Sunfall carried 57kg in the Tatts but may drop to the minimum 54kg in the Rocky Cup. Personally, I am a stickler for loyalty, and I commend Rodney Hay for that. I would certainly share the exhilaration of the pair should the dream occur and Sunfall won next Saturday’s Cup. If that occurred Tash Chambers name would go down alongside Pam O’Neil (Supersnack- 1990) as the only female jockeys to win the great race at Callaghan Park.  Then there will be “two roses of Callaghan Park.” PLEASE EXPLAIN: I broadcast that 1990 Rocky Cup win and labelled Pam O’Neill “the Rose of Callaghan Park” as she rode Supersnack back into the winners’ stall. 

Almost forgot, Alcyone the third placegetter in the Tatts Cup under the tutorship of Callaghan Park trainer Jamie McConachy turned in a bottler in that race when having his first start for the astute stable. He started from out in the carpark (15 gate) and carried 60.5kg. The run was lauded by jockey Justin Stanley who I imagine will ride him in the Cup also likely on the minimum weight. I suspect after that race Alcyone will trek north for the feature Cups up along the Coast. Regardless he is going to run a big race in the TAB Rocky Cup. However, I just can’t get it out of my head what a run it was last weekend from Namazu under that elephant weight of 70.5kg. If you were a weights and measures assessor, I suspect it would be difficult to overlook Namazu in the Cup. He should drop 8.5kg or even more.  

What a reputation heavyweight Rocky jockey Ashley Butler is building. He is twice a winner of the Rocky Amateurs The Archer at Callaghan Park as well as a host of Cups around the country and beyond. The premiership winning jockey at Callaghan Park back in 2015 certainly rose to the occasion again winning the $200K Battle Of The Bush (1200m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday for trainer John Manzelmann. Maybe a Rocky Cup next Saturday on Namazu would be fitting. 

Well folks, hope you have a very enjoyable Rockhampton Winter Carnival week. Happy Horses – Tony McMahon. 

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