RACING: QRIC settles on Laskey to head up Callaghan Park
HORSE RACING: AFTER a lengthy and sweeping search, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has finally found its man for the role of chief steward for the Central Queensland racing region centering on Rockhampton.
QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett yesterday announced the appointment of Neville Laskey as the senior steward appointed to Rockhampton.
Commissioner Barnett said Laskey commenced with QRIC on Monday and he will spend the remainder of the week at its Brisbane headquarters.
"Mr Laskey has immense stewarding and thoroughbred racing experience over almost 28 years, most recently as a senior stipendiary steward in Singapore and previously with Racing Victoria. I welcome Neville to Queensland.
"We (QRIC) are very fortunate to have secured a steward with such a range of experience for the Rockhampton area,” Barnett said.
While based in Singapore, Laskey worked as a senior steward on the panel headed by Peter Chadwick who last year was appointed QRIC's chairman of stewards for Queensland.
Laskey fills the void created last August when Rockhampton's former chief steward Luke Collins resigned his post to pursue a career in law.
During this period stewards have been flown in from Brisbane to chair the Rockhampton Jockey Club's TAB race meetings at Callaghan Park.
At times, that role has included the "fly-ins” to be based at QRIC's Callaghan Park racecourse office for weeks on end while the long running search for Collins' replacement was played out.
Laskey said he was "very much looking forward to getting to know the Rockhampton racing community”.
He is expected to commence work at Callaghan Park racecourse next week.
Speaking of which, the Lyle Rowe trained Legal Asset left an indelible mark on Rockhampton racing by becoming the longest priced winner in its long history when it won at Callaghan Park last Saturday.
Legal Asset paid the astounding TAB dividend of $167.30 for the win and $13.40 for the place when it won a QTIS 2YO Maiden on the Rocky Amateurs card.
However, the win of Legal Asset, which as it's long odds suggested had no form to recommend, did not come as a complete surprise to trainer Rowe.
"I told the owners to have their 10 or 20 dollars on it and I believe they did, but of course silly me, I did not,” Rowe said of the race.
Legal Asset's win also proved a bonanza for a female punter track-side who came up and told Rowe she backed the horse because of a family member connected with the legal fraternity.
"Apparently there was some mix-up when the lady put the bet on as she believed she had backed it each-way.
"But it turned out to be a win only bet and she had quite a win,” Rowe said.
Rockhampton trainer Stephen Rundle's consistent grey Top Echelon gelding Our Top Shelf finally got his just desserts with a game win in last Saturday's QTIS 3YO Handicap (1100m).
Our Top Shelf has been a busy young fellow since his race debut on March 8 last year racing on 17 occasions for three wins and eight placings plus two fourths while earning $83,300 prize money.
Rundle has done a super job to keep producing Our Top Shelf who always looks a "picture” of health with his glowing grey coat.
Our Top Shelf is among a strong list of nominations for another $31,000 QTIS 3YO Handicap (1200m) at Rockhampton next Tuesday.
Graeme Green's marauding youngster Master Jamie looks placed to continue on his winning ways in next Tuesday's $31K QTIS 2YO Handicap (1100m).
-- Tony McMahon