Sprinter likely to get the Dirt on rivals
By TONY McMAHON ? CURIOUSLY named sprinter Joe Dirt could continue the dominant winning trend of the lightweights when he contests the $25,500 Capricorn Countdown Rocky Amateurs Bracelet (1200m) at the first of two days of Carnival racing at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park today.
Named after a movie title, Joe Dirt has already created his own script through three wins and as many placings from just six Central Queensland roles.
Purchased off Victorian interests by Stephen and Sharon Coome and entrusted to Dave Vale in Rockhampton to train, gutsy Joe Dirt has set two class record times for 1100 and 1200 metres from three of those wins.
Deprived of another two wins when narrowly beaten in photo finish results with 61 and 60kg, Joe Dirt comes into the Bracelet with number 12 saddlecloth and just 54kg. Thereby tells a tale.
Since the Central Queensland Amateur Race Club became a professional entity in 1980 when Sleepy Morgan won the Bracelet with 51.5kg, 25 of the subsequent Bracelets run have been won by sprinters carrying 54.5kg or less.
Don't rush to be too judgmental about the additions, as in the transitional year of 2000, two Bracelets were run and ironically were won by topweights Iron Jug (57.5kg) and Leroy's Magic (61kg).
Since then Apprehended (53kg), Western Brace (54kg) and Damascus Calling (54kg) have won while the 2004 Bracelet winner Steel Cap was much closer to bottomweight than topweight as he carried 56kg.
A pockey dynamo, Joe Dirt has been warmly embraced by Central Queensland racegoers and his up-front approach to speed racing makes him even more exciting.
He deserves star-billing with a top feature win such as the Bracelet.
Conversely, John Wigginton's Bouverie's Jest will lump 56.5kg in the Bracelet but the grey is in wonderful form with back-to-back Rockhampton successes.
It can be envisaged that premier hoop Dale Evans will have Bouverie's Jest sneakily placed off the speed against the rails after they depart the choice number one barrier.
Another lightweight in the Tony Hess-trained Bro has struck a purple patch of form at the right time to ensure that his quest for Bracelet glory is indeed well founded.
Some 10 "milers'' comprise the field for the $25,500 Cambridge/Black Nugget Hotels Rocky Amateurs Cup (1600m) at Callaghan Park tomorrow.
There are no standouts there but punters may be wise to save up for the Darryl Hansen-trained Gaze County who looks the afternoon's best bet in the last race, the Maiden Handicap (1400m).