Country-based horses in the spotlight at major race day
QUEENSLAND country racing was showcased at Doomben on Saturday with scenes of jubilation boiling over in the winners.
The connections of Hard Stride prevailed in a keenly contested $50,000 Country Stampede series final (1100m).
Toowoomba based trainer Jason Judge stood proudly by the winners stall when jockey Paul Hamblin brought Hard Stride back to scale after their barnstorming win in the $50,000 event.
The 10-year-old gelding, a winner of $750,000, has made a name for himself on the country circuit carrying 66kg at Gympie to qualify for the Stampede final.
He had the big weight but Paul Hamblin, a heavy weight jockey, kept Hard Stride out of trouble jumping from a wide draw, got hard stride to front and the old tent fighter did the rest.
Hamblin and Hard Stride ($19) held off John Manzelmann’s fast finishing Raiden ($6.50) and Sunshine Coast galloper Tapa ($26) with both placegetters not far away in a close finish.
Jockey Paul Hamblin, a heavy weight rider, covers more miles than Burke and Wills to take rides all over Australia.
Last Sunday after riding at Dalby, Hamblin rode in the Jericho Cup at Warnabool and then jetted back to Brisbane to take the ride on Hard Stride.
In his younger days, Hard Stride won the Regal Roller stakes beating Group 1 performer Moment of Change.
Locally trained galloper Hayylers Tary, trained by Raymond Williams, performed admirably, finishing midfield and rewarding her connections by bringing home close to $2000 in starters rebates for finishing in the top 10.
Paniagua has overcome a marathon trip from Mareeba in North Queensland to win at Doomben.
The two-and-a-half day trek from Mareeba to Brisbane paid off for trainer Alex Malliff when his gelding made it eight straight, winning the $105,000 Country Cups Challenge Final. Paniagua, a $600 purchase has now won over $225,000 in prizemoney and has a huge cult following in North Queensland with the Malliff trained galloper being backed from $3.20 into $1.90 late in the betting.
Malliff has a stable of nine horses in work at his Mareeba stables.
Paniagua is by far Malliff best horse to date in his short training career, having won eight races after doing his early racing in Toowoomba.
It was the first time Malliff had ventured to Brisbane and now holds a 100 per cent strike rate. Veteran jockey Robert Thompson gave the well backed runner a peach of a ride.
Thompson, a living legend from Cessnock, is still a regular visitor to North Queensland racing carnival at 62 years old and has ridden 3690 winners spanning over four decades.
Malliff's winning move came after travelling down a fortnight early, letting the boom North Queensland galloper settle in.
Barcaldines Eschielle performed admirably under a big weight and also recouped $2000 for connections, finishing in 6th place.
Next years Emerald 100 is likely to be the Country Cups final qualifier and the concept will continue to grow into a bigger event in 2021.