McCall, Stewart team with topweight for Rocky Cup
HORSE RACING: Sunshine Coast trainer Natalie McCall and Brisbane jockey Brad Stewart will be chasing their second Rockhampton Cup wins when they team with topweight Spectroscope (USA) on Friday.
Very much the “go to” jockey in Brisbane riding in career best form, Stewart won the 2010 Rockhampton Cup on the Bryan Guy-trained grey Shuffle The Cash.
McCall’s win was far more recent as she teamed with former premier Rockhampton jockey Adrian Coome to win the 2017 version with Colour Page.
Spectroscope (USA) is the class horse of this year’s $85k Cup (1600m) field and as such has been allotted 60kg and is the race topweight.
Three starts back on February 2 at Doomben he provided a good Rocky Cup form line with his close second behind New Universe.
That is so as last year’s Rockhampton Cup winner Silvera was placed third in the race.
At Spectroscope’s only start back from a break he wasn’t far away when seventh behind Jared Wehlow’s top Newmarket hope Inquiry in the LR Spear Chief (1350m) on June 27 in Brisbane.
Brisbane trainer Lindsay Gough’s Right Or Wrong, which incidentally was third to Inquiry in the above race, is second in the Cup weights with 58.5kg.
Wehlow’s Balboa Rocks, a previous Rockhampton Cup placegetter, is third in line with 57.5kg, a weight which will allow Ashley Butler to take the ride.
Sunshine Coast trainer David Vandyke’s Bargannon is definitely well placed with 55.5kg which is the same weight the Kris Lees trained Top Prospect (NZ) has been given.
Last night there was no definite news from the Lees stable about a Cup start for Top Prospect which is also entered for Ipswich and Sydney races on Saturday.
However, the indications were that the horse was most unlikely to head up from his current Gold Coast base for the Cup.
Some 19 of the 24 Rockhampton Cup nominations are weighted on the minimum with 55kg which puts the class emphasis and biggest winning advantage with the five above that line.
It is a similar scenario in the $65K Rockhampton Newmarket (1200m) on Friday with Inquiry 61.5kg; Raiden 57.5kg; Master Jamie 56.5kg; Mr Attitude 56.5kg and Fab’s Cowboy 55.5 handicapped above the minimum weight.
Interestingly and conversely to the Rocky Cup weights, those five horses are all trained locally in or around Rockhampton.
Wehlow, who has realistic prospects of winning the Cup-Newmarket double, had no complaints about the handicapping of Inquiry.
“Anything under the quality topweight rating of 62kg is a bonus, I suppose. I can’t complain he has earned his weight. He is well and that’s all we can hope for,” Wehlow said about his last start LR Brisbane race winner.
With a BM rating of 97 some eight points above second topweight the Adrian Coome-trained Raiden, the trainer’s assessment seems spot on.
Graeme Green trained three year old sprinter Master Jamie who gets his chance to win a Newmarket with 56.5kg which is a sharp drop from the 63.5kg and thereabouts that he has been carrying creditably of late.
The Clinton Taylor-trained Hey Pal is topweight with 60kg among the 16 entries for Friday’s $35K Magic Millions Capricorn 3YO QTIS Guineas (1500m).
At Townsville races yesterday the Zoe Hohn-trained Champagne at Dawn was placed third in a QTIS 2 & 3YO Maiden (1200m).
A team of QRIC stewards, vet and swab assistants have taken as many as 150 out of competition blood sample from thoroughbreds currently in training in the Rockhampton region.
The majority of the tests have been conducted at Callaghan Park racecourse from 3.30am until around 7.30am over the last two mornings plus a wide range of visits to stables as far out as Stanwell.