High-profile jockeys line up for Callaghan Park bonanza

At first glance at the jockeys list for Thursday’s Rockhampton Jockey Club eight race TAB meeting, one could be excused for misconstruing it as a metropolitan register.

Not so of course but the names of Robbie Fradd, Bobby El-lssa, Matthew McGillivray, Ryan Wiggins, and Brad Pengelly have all featured most prominently on metropolitan tracks.

That is not by any means dismissing the talents of Nathan Day, Ashley Butler, Chris Whiteley, Les Tilley and one of the most naturally gifted and talented as them all in Ric McMahon.

The latter had Brisbane racing at its throat not so many years back with numerous feature race wins during an association with top notch horses such as Better Than Ready.

Now 33 and Mt Isa based, Ric McMahon won a swag of races on the Kelly Schweida trained Better Than Ready (BTR) including the Sir Brian Crowley LR Stakes (1200m) in course record time at Randwick on October 10, 2012.

The jockey, who has endured his share of trials and tribulations certainly wasn’t out of his depth when fourth on BTR in the GR 2 Rubiton Stakes (1200m) behind First Command at Caulfield on December 8, 2014.

Finally, over many years through soaring weight McMahon, who rides at about 59kg, finally found his niche in Mt Isa where just recently he rode four winners in one afternoon.

He comes to Rockhampton to ride the gifted Andrew Saunders owned and Jay Ford trained Manhattan Rain 7YO gelding Tango Rain which stops off en route to Brisbane.

Tango Rain, a former three times Sydney winner and GR 3 placed under Gerald Ryan, has qualified for the $200K Battle Of The Bush Final (1200m) at Eagle Farm on June 26.

The progression from his last start Mt Isa win under McMahon and 61.5kg in an Open (1100m) on May 21 to Thursday’s Callaghan Park Open (1200m) seems ideally timed although it won’t be any push over for the lads from “The Isa”.

Granted it is not the strongest of open handicaps in Rockhampton, but the likes of Barachiel and Papa Jo are not to be sneezed at under any circumstances.

The presence of dual GR 1 international winning jockey Robbie Fradd, very much high profile for years now at his Brisbane base, is certainly a talking point.

Fradd, 56 has only journeyed north of the Sunshine Coast to ride at Rockhampton and beyond on less than a handful of occasions.

With all due respect and no criticism intended, Robbie’s book of five rides certainly could not be described as overwhelming.

They are Adrian Coome’s Ripova (Race 2 – TAB 8); Nicks (R 5 – TAB 7); Miss Too Fly (R 7 – TAB 9) and Sharindi (R 8 – TAB 8).

As well, the gentlemanly horseman Fradd rides Jared Wehlow’s Irrupt (R3 – TAB 4).

One would think that Fradd isn’t disrupting his busy schedule just for the fun of it so was there an incentive such as the likelihood of a winner to entice him to Callaghan Park?

Adrian Coome explained that originally, he had Brisbane lightweight Sean Cormack booked for the mounts but when he got suspended Fradd who has the same manager agreed to substitute.

Anyhow, it’s enough to awaken punters to place a “much watch” on his mounts.

Racing commences at Callaghan Park at 12.30pm with the last race timed for 4.40pm.

After the completion of the race meeting patrons are invited to stay on for the Club 150/Winter Racing Carnival Launch.

Tickets are still available at $50 each which includes a two hours drink package and canapes plus live entertainment from Relic.

The function is to commence at 6pm and will be held in the Rocky Amateurs lounge.

The Rockhampton Jockey Club next races on Saturday, June 19.

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