Jockey Michael Murphy will ride Better Reflection in the $32K Magic Millions Country Cup Qualifier at Friday’s race meeting at Callaghan Park. Picture: Mike Mills.
Jockey Michael Murphy will ride Better Reflection in the $32K Magic Millions Country Cup Qualifier at Friday’s race meeting at Callaghan Park. Picture: Mike Mills.

Stage set for bumper meeting at Callaghan Park

IN THE spirit of Christmas, Racing Queensland was left with no other option but to divide Friday’s QTIS 3YO Maiden (1100m) at Callaghan Park, thereby expanding the program out to nine races.

As such, the stage is set for one of the busiest Friday race meetings ever staged by the Rockhampton Jockey Club with 106 horses declared to start.

The glitzy TAB program coincides with the club’s annual Kids Christmas Race Day, which has attractions galore in a busy compliment of events for children and those young at heart, culminating with the LJ Hooker Dashi Dash.

The club’s events co-ordinator, Kelly Suli, said the day had “something for everyone to enjoy”, ranging from Ramsay Pharmacy Kids Fashion Competitions, free face painting from Prima Barton, as well as Nicky Svensen’s Cake Designing Christmas Cup Cakes and the Patlaw Securities races for the kids.

“There is plenty more happening and it is all listed on the Rockhampton Jockey Club’s Facebook page,” she said.

Friday’s card blew out to nine races when no fewer than 29 of the 30 horses nominated for the $36K 3YO Maiden (1100m) were announced runners by their trainers.

It was no surprise as there has been - and still remains - a dearth of races for that class programmed in Rockhampton, with owners and trainers now facing the dilemma of an unnecessary seven weeks’ wait for another at Callaghan Park.

The fact that all but one of the 30 horses nominated accepted is sufficient evidence for Racing Queensland to respond expediently and program an additional 3YO Maiden to fill the void within a few weeks.

Former top Rockhampton juvenile Better Reflection will have a new rider when she contests Friday’s $32K Magic Millions Country Cup Qualifier (1200m).

Brisbane jockey, the now Rockhampton-based Michael Murphy will ride the mare which is battling to regain her top form.

Better Reflection faces no easy task opposed to the very much in form Mr Phenomenal (Elly Smith) and Niewand (Jake Bayliss).

The widely experienced south-east Queensland based Bayliss is a new “signing” for a Callaghan Park provincial meeting but he has a strong card of six rides.

These are No Doubt A Cracker, Sip It Now, Don’t Waiver and Niewand for Caloundra’s Stuart Kendrick.

As well, Bayliss has been engaged for Adrian Coome’s A Girl Like Alice and Warwick trainer Les Clarke’s Grandiose.

Back in the race riding business on Friday is prominent Rockhampton jockey Chris McIver who has been off the scene since April.

McIver has three rides for the Peter Fleming stable in Elliott’s Magic, Ollie’s Stand and Top Rung.

Missing from Callaghan Park will be Queensland’s leading race winning rider for the season (60 wins to date) in Justin Stanley, who instead rides at the Sunshine Coast meeting on Friday night which is a tip in itself.

Stanley has a huge following in Rockhampton, evidenced by his winning ride at Eagle Farm last Saturday on local trainer Kevin Hansen’s Sweet Dolly.

He flew home from a winning double at Cairns on Tuesday to pilot Rocky trainer Clinton Taylor’s Brigalow Boy ($2.70 fav) at Eagle Farm on Wednesday but regrettably the horse ran last.

Rockhampton trainer Darryl Johnston’s Aspen Lad (Brad Pengelly) claimed $18.5K for his Cairns win on Tuesday, taking his record to four wins from seven starts for $82,450 in winnings.

Racing returns to Callaghan Park on Tuesday, December 29.



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