Acid test for local runners at Doomben

By TONY McMAHON ? TESTING tasks await two of Rockhampton's most promising gallopers when they contest separate races at Doomben in Brisbane today.

The Dave Badham-trained three-year-old King Hunter was listed in early betting markets as a $6.00 chance in the $60,000 Metropolitan Funerals QTIS Class 6 handicap (1200m), which is the second race on the card.

John Wigginton's Encosta De Lago four-year-old Man Of Illusion has been rated a $13.00 prospect in the last race, the $40,000 OMW Handicap (1100m).

While both horses are more than capable they have come up with troublesome barrier draws.

King Hunter's weight of 57.5kg will be reduced by three kilograms through Matthew Palmer's allowance but he has to contend with seven alley in the 10horse field. Man Of Illusion has drawn worse at 15 gate for his contest but the brilliant speedster should not be written off despite this awesome disadvantage.

Wigginton has engaged the very capable claimer Rick McMahon for Man Of Illusion who will have the luxury of just 50kg on his back.

Former Chinchilla trainer Don Critch should celebrate his recent relocation to Rockhampton with a winning double at the Emerald races today.

Critch will start favourites Foxie Em (Michael Evans) in the Class B (1000m) and Strath Valley (Brenton Young) in the Class 3 (1200m).

During the past month Critch trained horses have strung together a string of placings robbing the young trainer of his first winner since resettling.

Both his Emerald starters today were runners-up at their last appearances at Yeppoon races on October 29.

Meanwhile, Mackay jockey Stan Watkins is awaiting a decision from the Racing Appeals Tribunal (RAT) as to whether his appeal made outside the time frame over an 18 months disqualification imposed recently at Townsville will be accepted.

Legal representatives for Watkins have sought leave of RAT to hear the appeal which was lodged outside the two weeks allowable period.

In other news there are reports of growing unrest among Queensland stewarding ranks after Queensland Racing advised that the positions of three top regional stewards were to be removed.

It is widely tipped that the trio, John Wallis (Rockhampton), Steve Rowe (Toowoomba) and Patrick Cooper (Townsville) have cross applied for three new positions advertised ? southern chairman and deputy chairman (Brisbane) and northern chairman (Townsville).

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