More than $600,000 prizemoney up for grabs over three days

HISTORY will be made at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park racecourse in the space of a week from Saturday when a whopping $611,000 in prizemoney will be offered over three race days.

The record distribution is a far cry from the meagre few guineas on offer when the Rockhampton Jockey Club was founded in 1863.

However, as the well-worn jingle goes "but wait there's more".

That $611,000 will be bolstered by the value of magnificent trophies which lucky owners of the feature race winners will accept with glee.

While Saturday's Girls Grammar Race Day offers some $84,000 in prizemoney, which is not to be sneezed at, it pales into insignificance compared to what gallops in next week.

Rockhampton's first $100,000 Newmarket Handicap (1300m) takes pride of place on Thursday, June 18, when all told $227,000 is being distributed over eight races.

Two days later on Saturday, June 20, that figure is gazumped by the Advanced Exhausts Rockhampton Cup Day's eight-race card boasting $300,000 in stakes.

Such lucrative prizemoney ranks Rockhampton right up there with some of the biggest provincial race carnivals in Australia.

While the star horses, trainers and jockeys will be out in force, it can only be hoped that the sports and racing loving Central Queensland public supports such an extravaganza of first-class contests.

After all, no other sporting body in Central Queensland can boast such a prize pool for its participants.

With 86 horses entered for the six-race Girls Grammar School card on Saturday, given that there are 26 neddies entered for the $22,000 QTIS 2YO Maiden (1100m), the program may blow out to seven events.

Very much a social day for the good ladies and their male partners, Girls Grammar's Saturday show will provide racegoers with a chance to chill out comfortably, taking advantage of the many facilities on course.

Missing however will be Rockhampton's top juvenile racer Embrace The Pain, which will contest a $65,000 2YO Handicap (1100m) at the corresponding Ipswich Cup Day races some 670km away.

There with jockey Justin Stanley on top, Embrace The Pain (55kg) will clash with the Listed Race top youngster Wicked Intent (60kg).

Meanwhile, back in Sydney celebrity jockey Tommy Berry's manager Jeff Brian has been fielding calls from trainers for the ace's services when he rides at the Rocky Newmarket card.

"Tommy has been offered the ride on Hotel Paradiso in the Newmarket," Brian said, while naturally no commitments are being made at this early stage.

Should circumstances fall into place, Berry is also being sought by Emerald trainer Glenda Bell for her latest acquisition Straight Gold in the $20,000 Class 6 Plate (1100m).

Formerly trained by Gary Moore, Straight Gold cost $300,000 as a yearling and has won more than $700,000 in stakes from wins as far away as Sha Tin in Hong Kong.

While in rugby league terms "a decision is still pending" on the outcome of Rocky trainer Clint Garland's appeal against a six-month disqualification, there is movement in another controversial matter.

At last it seems the long-running Vandalised cobalt saga emanating from the Jamie McConachy-trained miler's win in last year's Rockhampton Cup is gathering momentum.

From adjourned to re-adjourned, the inquiry has now been tentatively booked for reconvention in Brisbane on Thursday, June 25.

Racing Queensland's chief steward Allan Reardon said yesterday that McConachy's expert witness (re cobalt) has advised of his availability for the hearing on that date.

Even so, it's likely the case could be further adjourned before an outcome is determined.

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