Brisbane jockey in grand touch at Rocky meeting
Brisbane jockey Ryan Wiggins would have flown home from Rockhampton on Tuesday night a happy man after notching four wins at Callaghan Park’s TAB races that afternoon.
Wiggins, 38, was in grand touch, scoring two wins apiece for trainers Ricky Vale (Stubai, $2.00 and She’s Imperial, $3.50) and Caloundra visitor Garnett Taylor (Miss Mecca, $2.30 and Spirit Esprit, $3.90).
As their starting prices suggest, all of Wiggins’ winners were well backed so he also left Callaghan Park as the punters’ pal.
Miss Mecca (Kiss and Make Up-Miss Elvie x Elvstroem) looked above average in winning the QTIS 2YO Maiden (1100m) at only her second start after producing a strong third on debut at Ipswich on February 24.
In winning courtesy of the QTIS bonus scheme, she earned for her Callide Valley owners Stewie Nobbs and John Howard some $23,150 in prize money.
Wiggins and Taylor, a long-time formidable combination, bookended the Rockhampton Jockey Club card, winning the Class 6 Plate (1400m) with Spirit Esprit.
The winner put the writing on the wall when a luckless third at his previous start, also at Callaghan Park, on April 29 behind Stubai when closing late in the race.
Stubai on Tuesday asserted his superiority with a flawless display, winning the BM 65 (1600m) while lumping 63kg.
Wiggins has shared with Stubai in three of his six wins under Vale since he took over the horse in the summer of 2019 after it was previously trained by James Cummings at Randwick.
Stubai’s front-running style suggests he would be an ideal type for the $150K Rockhampton Cup (1600m) on July 10 as if he made the field, he would most likely be on the minimum weight.
Vale is enjoying a stellar season and judging by the manner in which his Domesday filly She’s Imperial charged home to win the QTIS 3YO Maiden (1200m), she will win again for the stable this season.
Speaking of which, Wiggins is enjoying the best season of his career winner-wise with 91.5 successes so far of which 88.5 have been recorded in Queensland.
On the Queensland premiership table, Wiggins sits in third placing behind equal leaders Justin Stanley and Jimmy Orman who top score on 97 winners.
Wiggins is already well ahead of his winning figures for the 2019/20 season of 60 victories.
Gold Coast jockey Chris Whiteley provided the first leg of a winning double for Callaghan Park trainer Jamie McConachy, timing his run to perfection with Santorini Summer in the Class 4 (1050m).
Whiteley 46, surged Santorini Summer through along the inside over the closing stages to steal victory from Tim Cook’s Sirfina ($6.00) and deprive Wiggins of five wins for the afternoon.
In retrospect, Santorini Summer’s starting price of $9.00 was great value as the same team won with the Eurozone gelding at his previous start at Callaghan Park just 10 days earlier when he was a $10.00 victor.
Just last week at a Cairns TAB meeting, Whiteley did a Wiggins when it was he riding four winners.
Race favourite Auxin (Michael Hellyer, $2.40) weakened under his 60kg impost to finish last, albeit only 3.7 lengths behind the winner.
Stylish Brisbane jockey Brad Pengelly provided McConachy with his second winner through Arzani ($5.00) who scored a long neck win over the Bill Weeks-trained Hinvictus in the Class 1 (1200m).
Roma trainer Craig Smith’s Ventures Benir (Dan McGillivray, $10,00) scored an upset win in the Maiden Plate (1400m), although the trainer was not surprised.
The finish was dominated by long shots as runner-up Phillip Pengelly-trained Reputation started at $41.00 while James Baker-trained third Zabcan was a $31.00 prospect.
Better still, Krystle Johnston’s fourth-placed Craiglea Clinkers ran at $101.00 but alas, the first four was not claimed and thereby jackpotted.
Racing returns to Callaghan Park, Rockhampton, next Tuesday, June 1.