Spring carnivals always on a winner

SPRING goes with horse racing just like controversy goes with Mark Latham.

Both are very much in the news of late.

Naturally, I prefer to concentrate on horse racing as to be truthful, I couldn't give a hoot about the Mark Lathams of this world.

The ambience of spring will be alive and well at carnivals throughout Australia over the next six weeks culminating with the running of the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, November 1.

Horse racing in Australia is quiet plainly a celebration of life.

In Central Queensland, our own Callaghan Park is the hub of racing. Our spring carnivals commence on Friday and Saturday with two days of social and racing artistry woven by the Rocky Amateurs.

As usual, the Rocky Amateurs through the ingenuity of chairman Ken McCaffrey and his committee, will promote stellar racing along with all the toppings of socials and fashion.

Not surprising, the entrepreneurial skills of McCaffrey's team have brought about another coup through the focus of Gerard O'Donoghue who in appeareance and voice bears a striking resemblance to the legend himself ? Roy Orbison.

O'Donoghue will be the guest artist at the Rocky Amateurs Gala Cup Dinner at the Rockhampton Leagues Club on Friday night as well as strutting his stuff on Cup Day next Saturday.

Naturally, the Rocky Amateurs are the appetiser for the crackerjack St Peter's Day at Callaghan Park on Caulfield Cup Day, Saturday, October 15, which coincides with the running of the $27,000 Breeders Plate (1000m) ? in other words the first of the season's juvenile races.

Then of course, there is Melbourne Cup day itself which annually draws once-a-year racegoers to the track to be part of our unique heritage.

The old neddy Archer certainly does have something to answer for. He started it all by winning the first Melbourne Cup in 1861.

In Queensland racing began at Cooper's Plains on the outskirts of Brisbane on July 17, 1843.

When a prospector named Pollard discovered gold at Clermont in 1862, a crowd headed for Rockhampton with Fitzroy Jockey Club holding a meeting in 1863. Even then on the crude race tracks which began to spring up, crowds loved to party despite the raw amenities.

Dances continued through till dawn while historians record there were shooting galleries around the course as well as organ-grinders.

Very novel was the pet goose which selected the winning number from 15 card holders who had invested a shilling with 10 bob the winning prize.

I daresay over the ensuing spring racing carnivals will we see the odd goose or two all the worse for wear after the last race.

However, as far as I know, Mark Latham is not expected to be in attendance.



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