Talent drought hits CQ
By TONY McMAHON
A SEARCH is on for a suitable rider to partner Central Queensland's best chance in Saturday week's $85,000 XXXX Rockhampton Gold Cup (2000m), the Jim O'Shea-trained Highest Power.
This follows disclosure from Highest Power's regular rider Dale Evans that he will ride the Rex Lipp-trained Midnight Avenue in the Cup.
The decision has trainer Jim O'Shea perplexed as he was hopeful Evans would continue his lengthy successful association with the mercurial little stayer.
Last year, Evans and Highest Power combined to win the Cup Prelude but they won't be together on Friday.
"I just don't want to get anyone," O'Shea said.
The dearth of staying talent trained in Central Queensland is pronounced as Highest Power and Mycenae are the only two from this region among the 14 nominated for the Cup Prelude (1900m).
Granted, Rockhampton-owned but Too-woomba-trained Midnight Avenue is a nomination along with Callide Valley owned and trained Celtic Trial.
Assured of topweight, Celtic Trial won a muddling run in the Tattersall's Cup (1800m) on May 26 at Callaghan Park with 64.5kg. The ridiculously slow tempo led to the race being won in 1.53.36 seconds ? more than five seconds outside the record.
In a major reverse swing, the Cup Prelude has attracted more nominations than Friday's Newmarket Prelude for sprinters.
Only a dozen entries were received for the sprint whereas last year's corresponding race drew a 16 plus four emergencies.
Only seven juveniles were entered for Friday's QRIS 2YO Handicap.