Premiere of new turf track
THANKS to the enterprise and financial clout of Queensland Racing Limited to the tune of $6.5 million, Rockhampton racing comes alive today with the premiere of the new turf track at Callaghan Park racecourse.
Widely lauded by all sections of the racing community, the track was the catalyst for the opening meeting receiving overwhelming support from owners and trainers when 120 horses were declared to race on the eight-race card.
Despite having to declare emergencies and conducting ballots, about 110 horses are scheduled to race into history at Callaghan Park this afternoon.
Fittingly, Rockhampton’s best racehorse and just maybe the best-trained in the region for many a long year being Gobou, will be part of the action in the $20,000 Contour Consulting Engineers Cup (1300m) at 4.10pm.
A winner of eight of his 10 starts after costing just $2000 as an unwanted yearling, Gobou will be ridden for the first time by a female race jockey and a promising one at that in three kilograms-claiming apprentice Carly-Mae Pye.
Pye is riding in dashing form with a winning double at Callaghan Park 10 days back contributing to her gender having for the first time ridden the program of winners at a TAB race meeting in Australia.
Carly-Mae’s effort, enforced by her claim, was instrumental in trainer Clint Garland engaging her for Gobou.
Race watchers who saw Gobou simply explode away from a similar field and nearly shatter the 1250 metres race record when winning at Mackay on January 15 have tagged him a special today. He is, however, vulnerable.
This comes about from his outside barrier of 12 and the fact that in the past he has had a few quirks in his racing mannerisms when handled by more senior jockeys than Pye.
Conversely, those factors could be beneficial to Gobou’s odds extending, which his bevy of fans would be only too appreciative to acquire.
Two newcomers to Rockhampton racing, Cairns trainer Gus Philpot and former Toowoomba jockey Paul Randall, both lured by the advent of a new and exciting era of racing in the city, combine, hopefully to make a statement, with Tomislav in the Maiden Handicap (1300m) at 12.25pm.
Philpot, who has professionally and quietly gone about his training routine at Callaghan Park since arriving last October, produced Tomislav for a fighting second on the sand track there 10 days ago.
It wouldn’t be a Rockhampton race meeting without Stan Johnson and his band of travelling “Craiglea” horses and such is the case today where “Gee Tee” (TAB 1 – race 3) and “Blondie” (TAB 8 – race 6) can earn winning cheques.
Craiglea Gee Tee runs around for a winning purse of $20,500 thanks to the implementation of many an owner’s dream – the abundant QTIS 600 bonus scheme.
Trainer Mark Hutton and his former “Blues” gelding Imaan have done their share of running around, trekking from Monto this morning, and punters should reap the rewards by supporting their listing as TAB number two in the second race.