Locals nab doubles
IN the absence of the “fly-in” jockeys from South-East Queensland, locals rode six of the seven winners on the improved Callaghan Park sand track at the Rockhampton Jockey Club’s (RJC) seven-race TAB card yesterday.
Dominating pair, the premiers in their respective fields, trainer Lyle Rowe and jockey Luke Dillon shared a double through favourites Blue Bom Square ($2.80 – Class 1, 1800m) and Cannyclimb ($1.70 – Class 5, 1300m).
Craig Beets, a popular figure among the Rockhampton jockey ranks, also enjoyed multiple successes with Ross Shannon’s Red Dust Dancer ($5.50 – Maiden, 1100m) and Lyle Wright’s Long Road To Glory ($8.00 – 3YO Handicap, 1000m).
Wright himself wasn’t to be outdone, as he maintained his pleasing figures with a double when the previous “best horse in his stable”, his former apprentice Ashley Butler dashed the stable’s No Name ($5.00) away for an easy win in the Class 1 (900 metres).
Ross Shannon, wife Donna and daughters Nyree, Brenda and Carol were naturally elated by the initial win of Western Red (NZ)-Madam Zaire mare Red Dust Dancer, who they also bred.
“She was offered for sale at the 2007 Capricorn Yearling Sale but was passed-in. Later in the day I felt she was sold, however, that sale fell through so I decided to train and race her for the family,” Ross Shannon said.
Shannon, the president of the Central Queensland Thoroughbred Breeders Association, intends to enter a Top Echelon yearling from Madam Zaire for the Capricorn sale in Rockhampton, set from April 11 next year.
The Julie Green trained Massiah (Adrian Coome, $4.80) proved one of racing’s best barometers to be spot on – a significant weight drop, when down a hefty 3kg on his last start and returning to his best in the Open Handicap (1300m) by posting win number nine from his tally of 30 starts.
Some six new race record times were established on the sand at the meeting, which pleased all concerned, including stewards.
“The track settled down and jockeys reported not as much kick-back as the previous meeting. It was much better,” chief steward Norm Torpey said.
Callaghan Park racecourse manager Richard Harris said a tip passed on from Queensland’s most experienced jockey, Tony Erhart, who rode the sand track on November 10 had proved invaluable.
“Tony didn’t bag the track. He just said it just needed a slight adjustment and by crumbing or raking off the top of the track it would race better,” Harris said.
“We crumbed it to 25 millimetres of sand and the improved results speak for themselves.
“You couldn’t get advice from a better judge that Tony (Erhart) and if you didn’t listen to him there is something wrong,” Harris who praised his track staff said.
RJC chief executive Denis Cox said the UNITAB turnover of $625,000 for seven races yesterday was comparatively on a par with last week’s $686,000 for an eight-race card.