RJC report with Ian Mill
Hello again everyone and trust that you are all well and that you are among the winners.
Which reminds me.
Do you remember in some previous issues of this column I wrote about the huge success of the Rockhampton trainers at Mackay TAB meetings and suggested that you follow them carefully?
Well, no surprises at all when, last Tuesday, all seven events in the Mackay Turf Club programme, the horses trained by Rockhampton, won four races.
This came courtesy of Tim Cook trained Tiaclair ($14.00); Emma’s Jet by Stephen Rundle ($6.50); Zoe Hohn’s Ruffin’ It ($16.00) and Nick Walsh’s Aleysa’s Jet ($1.65).
Really, I’ve lost track of how many times similar events happen in Mackay.
It was also a real day for the “girls” there on Tuesday.
Or a leading young lady, Tahlia Fenlon 18 from Rockhampton, won on the ultra-honest Aleysa’s Dream while another apprentice from Callaghan Park, Alisha Donald 23, rode Tiaclar to victory.
It was Alisha’s 26th winner (under contract to Tim Cook), which is a good effort considering she has been racing for less than a year and Tahlia’s 39th.
You have to admire the resilience of the jockeys.
Just 24 hours before her victory over Tiaclair, Alisha took a nasty kick inside the Callaghan Park enclosure during the Barrier Test rounds.
I think I’ll still be recovering, but Alisha won’t.
Senior apprentice Jade Doolan was Mackay’s toast when she picked up her first winner on the John Manzelmann-trained Cochrane ($3.80) in Tuesday’s Maiden (1300m).
Jockey Chelsea Jokic made four winners in the ladies bringing Murano Magic ($19.00) home first in Class 1 (1050m).
In keeping with the women’s theme, there was the fact that two women – Zoe Hohn and Olivia Cairns were also the top winners.
Well done ladies and really where would the race be without them?
I must still be in love with Valentine’s Day, because where would we men be without them either?
There’s an old saying in racing that goes – “when you walk into a racetrack, expect the unexpected”.
Such was the case at Ooralea Gardens, Mackay last Tuesday.
A rarity occurred when the stewards overturned the judge’s winning decision to declare a dead heat for the first between Ruffin’It and Oddfellow in the BM 55 (1560m).
The commissioner’s report on the race explains that this happened after apprentice Marnu Potgieter (Ruffin’It) and Chelsea runners Jokic (Oddfellow) of the declared dad warmers were allowed to see the official image of the finish picture.
They did so in the company of the stewards and the judge.
The report went on to say that the stewards were not comfortably happy with the judge’s decision and later changed the results.
Ruffin’It was then declared inside by the tiniest margin of a nose over Oddfellow.
The commissioners have the absolute power to make such a decision, but the chances of it happening between the declared ex-aequo for the former are astronomical.
If I remember correctly, in September 2019 the Stewards overturned a photo-finish decision involving the horses Great Fox (declared the winner) and Victory Toast at Keppel Park, Yeppoon.
It was an even more unusual case as the commissioner’s inquest which overturned the judge’s decision took place days after the race and the correct weight and bets had been settled on Great Fox.
At Mackay, the modified winner was announced before the correct weight was declared.
As I said – “expect the unexpected at a racetrack”.
In line with this topic, I had to resent Callaghan Park coach Jason Morgan at our RJC race meeting last Friday.
Jason had every right to feel confident leading the first race of the QTIS 2YO Handicap (1050m) as he prepared to saddle the low-cost favorite and winner of the last Tour De Dream start.
Tour De Dream pitched up and lost footing while sliding out of the wash bay on the course and sustaining abrasions.
As a result, it was declared late scraping.
“It was just an hour before the race and it was very disappointing at the time. Anyway, she is fine now and took advantage of a week in Springton to relax,” Jason reported. .
He said Tour De Dream would likely have its next start on March 12 in a 2-year-old handicap (1100m) at Callaghan Park.
“After that, we’ll chart a path to the $125,000 (1200m) Capricornia 2-Yr-Old Sales Classic at Rocky on April 9th,” Jason said.
At this early stage, Tour De Dream would likely be the nominal favorite for this major race.
The young Sepoy was a $20,000 purchase from last year’s CYS at Rockhampton.
As I said before, this year’s CYS will be held at the Robert Schwarten Pavilion on Sunday, April 10.
The manager, Tony Fenlon, informs me that there are 118 yearlings registered for sale.
I see in a story posted by Tony McMahon on the RJC Facebook site this week that six graduates from previous Rocky sales won at Rockhampton, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Miles last weekend.
How good is it?
Adam Sewell is a jockey who is really starting to get into this, especially at Rockhampton and Mackay.
Adam 26, started in racing as a stable hand with Gai Waterhouse at Randwick and later when he moved to a NSW country stable he had the pleasure of riding a winner at Randwick.
He moved to Queensland in 2016 and was contracted to coach Stuart Kendrick at Caloundra and even now Adam is still based on the Sunshine Coast.
Adam is a hard worker and comes in at 54kg which requires considerable effort as he is tall for a jockey.
At the RJC meeting last Friday, he scored a winning double through Merida’s Bow ($4.40) and Frankie Blue Eyes ($10.00).
Then he lobbed Mackay this week winning on Emma’s Jet ($6.50) for Stephen Rundle, which was especially good for the coach to see.
Adam also won at Mackay on Yuan Fen ($4.00).
I, for one, am a proponent of “reward for effort” and on that basis, Adam Sewell’s recent successes are well deserved.
He’s got some hot punters spinning right now, so don’t be afraid to throw a dollar each way his mounts go.
As we say “play reactively”.
Which brings me to this article that many punters back jockeys rather than horses.
By this I mean if they have a particular taste for a jockey and they will support his mounts and disregard the shape of the horse.
It’s been around forever, but I guess it’s best remembered in the 50’s and 60’s era of the old “Cotton Fingers”, i.e. the all time great George Moore.
Mackay-born Moore (1923-2008) dominated Sydney racing during his long and sometimes spirited association with this colossus of trainer TJ Smith.
First, back to Mackay where George did track drills around Ooralea when he was 13 years old.
Last year the Mackay Turf Club and local council unveiled an official plaque recognizing Moore’s birthplace and his dominant status in Australian and international racing.
Moore rode a record 199 GR 1 winners by completing them in countries around the world.
Punters had a love-hate relationship for the champion jockey, but overall it was definitely LOVE.
Back in the days of huge racing crowds on the course and no official outside bets (sorry forgot SP) but definitely no race broadcast they encouraged it to a man (a politically correct woman as well) when he picked up a winner, especially at Randwick.
It was folklore that George whistled to get some of the inside runs he got for his mounts when they looked hopelessly embarrassed.
No whistle, just brilliant riding, but Moore admitted he much prefers bringing his mounts outside so they have a clear ride.
Like I said, Moore and Smith had plenty of heated post-race clashes, especially if GM got beat on a TJ horse.
I remember quotes about it in the book The Jockey Who Laughed which his Melbourne rival Roy Higgins wrote after Moore had mounted a Cup hope for Smith in a canter down the track.
TJ: “You disobeyed my specific instructions, you’re not a good slacker. Who do you think you are?”
GM: “Who do you think you are talking to me like that. TJ you make me sick. As a jockey, you were hopeless. You couldn’t keep your seat on a rocking horse.
Smith: “I’m not a moron either. I’ve never laid an egg in my life, but damn it, I can cook one.
Readers who can be appropriate in many aspects of life – brilliant, I believe.
In closing, we are running today (Saturday February 19) at Callaghan Park for early bird readers.
Reminds me that the RJC is gearing up for a great St Patrick’s Day Race Club reunion on Saturday March 12th.
Stay tuned to the RJC-Callaghan Park Facebook page for the latest news on race day packages for the occasion.
Can’t wait to see Just Stanley in action again at Callaghan Park in Monday’s barrier trials with his darling Sweet Dolly.
Well folks, that’s another column done and dusted off.
I hope you enjoyed reading as I try to keep you up to date with a touch of racing history as well.
Yours in the race Ian Mill.