Countdown to new grass track

Rockhampton Jockey Club (RJC) chief executive Denis Cox declared it was “all systems go” for the rescheduled Callaghan Park sand track TAB race meeting today.

The program was due to be staged last Friday but remedial work to the track damaged by rain washouts could not be completed because of adverse weather conditions.

QRL officials and representatives of the contractors building the new grass track at Callaghan Park yesterday made inspections of the circuit which is due to open on January 29.

QRL chairman Bob Bentley said the new grass track at Callaghan Park will be one of the best of its kind in Australia. QRL has outlaid more than $6.5 million on building the new spacious turf track along with the sand training track at the course which is also doubling as a temporary racetrack.

The RJC and QRL are planning a gala opening day’s racing on the new turf track on Friday, January 29 with free admission for all patrons.

At Callaghan Park this morning, horses are due to use track tunnel entry under the turf tack near the top of the straight at the 400 metres point o make their way on to the sand training circuit.

This is a complete change from the long standing entry format about thirty metres past the winning post near the saddling enclosure.

Back at the track today, surprisingly the sand track will host the clash of two very smart sprinters in Citiwyse and Red Story who are both capable of winning in Brisbane.

They will contest the opening race, the $12,000 Class 6 Plate (1300m).

Lyle Rowe’s Red Story is seriously disadvantaged by the set weight race conditions and will lump 58.5kg.

Last start Red Story carried 57kg when beaten just 1.5 lengths when sixth of 18 in a Doomben NMW (1350m) on Boxing Day.

Peter Fleming’s Citiwyse is advantaged by the race conditions with just 55.5kg with Brisbane jockey Kelvin Wharton in the saddle.

At his two most recent Doomben starts, Citiwyse has been close-up behind talented subsequent winning sprinters Baqaba and Plain Magic.

As an aside, Gympie based Fleming and Craiglea Stud counterpart Tambo trainer Bevan Johnson are planning to provide five of the eight entries for the QTIS 600 2YO Handicap (1050m) at the Mackay TAB race meeting on Friday.

Their runners will be Craiglea Gal, Craiglea Gee Tee; Craiglea Matilda, Craiglea Rawie and Craiglea Royal with only the cap colours distinguishing them as all are due to carry blue and white silks.

The RJC 2009 Horse Of The Year – the Clint Garland trained Gobou is likely to start in the $10,000 Open Handicap (1250m) at Mackay.

At the Gladstone Turf Club races on Saturday, battling Rockhampton jockey Meggsie Hall was fined $400 by stewards for using his whip on an excessive number of occasions on a fourth placegetter at a recent meeting.



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