Kieran Campbell

Horses run early to beat fire

STEWARDS made the sensible decision to bring forward the starting time of the last two races at the gala St Peter's Race Day at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park racecourse on Saturday after smoke from bushfires near Mount Archer drifted across the course.

Chief steward Luke Collins said his biggest concern was visibility and respiratory problems connected with jockeys and the horses.

“The smoke haze was becoming a problem and after the third race (3.22pm) it was pretty bad. We decided to speed up the last two races. It was in the best interests of all concerned. I had the horses vetted to ensure they were not adversely affected by the poor conditions and they were cleared to start and the local races were then run early. Racing wise, I had no issues,” Collins said.

Nor for that matter did premier trainer Lyle Rowe who enjoyed - per medium of a winning treble - his best day at the races for some time.

Rowe's winners were - All That Cash (Luke Dillon, $3.20); Coda (Michael Cullen ($13.00) and tough nut Let It Hail (Dillon, $2.00).

All That Cash demonstrated his affinity for the sand track by beating Scent Of Gold (Craig Beets, $4.00) by two lengths in the opening race, the Class 5 (900m).

The middle pin of Rowe's threesome, Coda, sold for $15,000 as a yearling in Rockhampton last year and has an international pedigree stoutly enthused.

While her starting price of $13.00 suggests Coda's half-length win over $3.50 favourite Akkabak in the Maiden Plate (1000m) may not have been completely expected, it was all the same worthwhile as the Monashee Mountain (USA) filly is raced by Lyle's wife Patricia.

Even better, Patricia Rowe also shares in the ownership of Open Handicap (1300m) winner Let It Hail, a son of the now Maryborough-based entire Hayil (USA) and the nippy lightly raced Speeding Fine mare Satellite Girl.

With a record of nine wins and 12 placings from 32 starts, Let It Hail has outshone his mum, as when racing, the Kerrod Smyth trained Satellite Girl only won a Thangool Maiden (800m), which incidentally was almost nine years ago to the day on October 21, 2000.

However, Satellite Girl was a half-sister to the former gifted Paul Zimmerlie Rockhampton trained mare Apprehended, a winner of 11 of her 19 starts thus accruing $105,870.

While not in the same class, Let It Hail looks like overhauling Apprehended's pool as the five year old has now won $89,950 in stakes, which represents an 800% investment on his sale price at the 2006 Capricorn yearling Sales.

Rockhampton trainer Grant Buckton is one step closer to exercising an option of purchase on Class 3 (1300m) winner Gooram (Dennis Whitmore, $5.00).

Gooram (br g 6, Kenny's Best Pal-Trisnick) sat back in the field before finishing best to beat Tom Bourke's Saionji (Glenn Lee, $3.20) with the winner's stablemate and race favourite Allbutmine (Luke Dillon, $3.00) a close third.

The laconic Buckton acquired Gooram off Melbourne contact Brian Cox.

“I got a few dollars out of the win on Saturday,” Buckton acknowledged.

Dollars are exactly what the patient owners of impressive Class 1 (900m) winner Final Handout (Craig Beets, $1.70) can look forward to reaping, judging by the Royal Handout gelding's gutsy win.

Raced and part owned by Rockhampton's John Poots, Kerrie Shaw, Bundaberg's Dallas Boothey and West Australia's Wayne Pope, the lightly raced Final Handout has overcome adversity to now win his only two starts this campaign.

Just a fortnight earlier, Final Handout scored a convincing 6.25 lengths win on the Callaghan Park sand track which was exactly the opposite to his previous start at Bluff on February 28 when he tallied off.

“He bucked after being pinched by the girth strap at Bluff. His forearm swelled to twice its size in the next day or so and after some initial stable care, I turned him out in a big paddock and let nature take its course,” John Poots said.

Now the course is set for Final Handout to win for punters on the sand at Callaghan Park on Melbourne Cup Day, Tuesday, November 3.

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