Rural CQ race meet goes ahead with $50k up for grabs
THERE is no stopping the Alpha Jockey Club and its plans to race tomorrow with the committee, with Racing Queensland’s blessings, hosting the annual meeting at Fordham Park.
President Kevin Wiltshire and his committee have been determined to race and had an unanimous agreement that they would race and the response to online ticket sales was phenomenal.
“As far as ticketing went we prioritised members, owners and sponsors and the small amount that was left was released to the general public and were snapped up within 24 hours,” he said.
The biggest challenge ahead of the club is the fluid situation surrounding COVID-19 and the subsequent guidelines set out by Queensland Health and Racing Queensland.
“We’re working with those guidelines and we are confident we can implement strategies to abide by any rules given to us,” Wiltshire said.
“Unfortunately, we are only going to have up to 500 people on track for our big day this year.”
Wiltshire reiterated that the main reason the club would race this season was to give back to industry participants who were struggling after a plethora of community functions and race meetings had been abandoned this year.
“Our committee has spoken at length about the support we have received from people in the Alpha area along with the owners, trainers and jockeys in the past and we are hell bent on giving that support back in these trying times.
“The Alpha community need a lift right now.”
The Alpha Race Club has attracted good fields for the six-race program with over $50,000 in prize money on offer.
Wiltshire said the club was looking forward to having more than 3000 patrons trackside in the future.
The first meeting for 2020 was held at Clermont on September 19 to take the pressure off the Emerald Jockey Club’s racing surface which is undergoing remediation.
Clermont Race Club President Bill Bell, with limited notice, took on the meeting to ensure the continuity of prize money for racing industry participants with $45,000 in stakes distributed on the day.
Bell thanked his committee for knuckling down and getting the job done at short notice.
The first race on the program, the Benchmark 45 Handicap over 1000 metres, was taken out by Glenda Bell’s new stable addition Isis Jectile ridden by Dakota Graham, which scored comfortably for its new stable.
It was a big day for Bouldercombe hoop Dakota Graham riding two winners and two second placings.
She also took out the Maiden Handicap on Unusual Aunt for Clint Taylor.
One of the other highlights was the local mother and daughter duet local jockey Emma Bell and local trainer Jenny Bell unleashing track specialist Finders Deagon to take out the Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1200m, given a perfectly judged ride from a wide barrier.
The meeting set down for Emerald 100 day will also be transferred to Clermont on October 10, with the Clermont Club set to host a feature $10,250 1400 metre Open Handicap event.
Pioneer Park trainer Trevor Williams and his wife Jenni ventured to the iconic Ewan picnic meeting last weekend and proved distance is no barrier to find the winners stall after he took out the $10,000 1200 metre Class B Handicap with Mettre le feu.
The couple has been very patient with the lightly raced mare after several injury setbacks after buying her at a bargain base price from Victoria last year.
Team Williams’ hard work was rewarded when the Pioneer Park trained mare was backed at $21, some solid bets for team Williams.
Danny O’Brien anointed Russian Camelot the best horse he has trained after the Irish prodigy cemented Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup favouritism as Damien Oliver notched his 120th Group 1 victory, taking out the Underwood Stakes last Saturday.
Russian Camelot’s ownership includes the Central Queensland based Queensland Cup Colts’ Syndicate, a group put together by Dan and Rae Fletcher.
After Russian Camelot’s win on Saturday he was wound into $3.50 favourite for the Cox Plate on October 24.
Fletcher said with COVID-19 restrictions easing in Melbourne he and the syndicate were hopeful attending the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November was still strongly on the radar.