State's richest race to be run in Rocky on Saturday
QUEENSLAND racing's richest event this Saturday, the $112,000 SMW Group Capricornia Yearling Sales 2YO Classic (1200m) being run at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park racecourse has attracted its best field since inception in 1988.
No fewer than a remarkable seven individual winning two-year-olds, as well as another eight such placegetters are among the final 18 acceptors from which 16 will start.
Those figures are gems for the source of the race, Rockhampton's Capricornia Yearling Sales, as the Classic field is restricted to youngsters purchased from there in 2015.
Brisbane trainer Kelly Schweida's Doomben winning filly Bagus (Bridget Grylls) drew favourably at barrier 6, enough to prompt leading fielder Vince Aspinall to label her the $2.00 Classic favourite.
Rockhampton racing's favourite young daughter, the flying Snippetson filly Security Belle (Nathan Day) drew ideally at barrier two delighting her connections.
"Couldn't ask for better. I was sweating on a good barrier and we came up with it," her trainer Fred Smith said before smiling with relief.
Unbeaten in three local Callaghan Park starts to 1100m whereby her accumulative winning margins totalled 15 lengths; Smith is not perturbed about Saturday's extra trip.
"She (Security Belle) is a daughter of Kai Chow and she won this race in 2003. What's more, that mare's full sister Kia Cibo won the Classic the very next year. Like Saturday's race, the Classic was over 1200m then so I really can't see the distance being a problem," Smith said.
At Rockhampton's CYS on Sunday, local breeders, the Coyne family, of Stewart Park Stud, Alton Downs, will offer Security Belle's half-sister by Seidnazar as Lot 83.
Likewise, the 1200m should hold no fears for Jet Spur filly Bagus, which has been getting to the line strongly in her three races for two wins and a second to 1050m.
Bagus (b/br f 2 Jet Spur-Jezzamine) is yet another grand advertisement for the CYS as she cost $15,000 there last year and has won well over $100,000.
Ironically, both Fred Smith and Kelly Schweida have mutual respect for each other's fillies.
"Bagus - yeah she goes good and finishes strongly. She is a worry for sure," Smith laconically stated.
Schweida countered - "You can't help but have respect for Security Belle. I've watched some of her wins and they look very impressive."
Interestingly, under the set-weight conditions of the Classic while fillies (55kg) are advantaged by a 2kg weight receipt over the colts (57kg), the fairer sex has won just 11 times compared to 17 for the males.
Like never before in its 28-year history, this year's Capricornia Classic is far from a "one or two horse race" from a genuine chance's perspective.
"It's the best Classic field I have seen and I've seen them all", renowned form analyst and bookmaker Vince Aspinall declared.
Visiting southern stables are also represented by Paul Butterworth's General Assault (Matthew McGillvray); Chris Anderson's Heaps Good (Sairyn Fawke); Garnett Taylor's Daunting Lass (Chelsea Jokic) and the Gold Coast's Kelly Doughty's Benfica Princess (Dale Evans).
While the 2YO Classic has star billing on Saturday, its older counterpart for the three-year-olds has also lured the biggest field (13) since it was introduced some years back.
Dominators are the locally trained Kelly Shaw's Seidnazar gelding Duan Oscar (Scott Sheargold - 61kg) and Townsville's Ray Long's Wicked Style gelding Wicked Crime (Justin Stanley - 59.5kg)
This is the first year the Rockhampton Jockey Club has promoted the Festival of Racing theme around back-to-back Friday-Saturday TAB race meeting preceding Sunday's sale.
Early indications confirm it was a fortuitous move as the build-up has been unprecedented in the city with visitors already arriving from throughout Queensland.
A UBET Calcutta Dinner precedes Saturday's Classic Race Day, at 6.30pm Friday at the racecourse's members' auditorium.