Top hoops boost Millions Plate

THE Mackay Turf Club has come up trumps with Tuesday’s $100,000 Magic Millions Plate (1050m) luring two of Queensland’s highest-profile jockeys to ride there at the gala TAB meeting.

Former premiership-winning Brisbane jockeys, Jim Byrne and Stathi Katsidis, have taken a number of rides on the seven-race card, which is assured to elevate the betting turnover on the meeting.

Katsidis will ride the Robert Bradshaw-trained Zaha filly Tough Luck on whom he won the $100,000 Toowoomba Magic Millions Plate (1100m) on November 27.

Byrne’s engagement for the Stuart Kendrick Greenwood Lake filly Shanty Shamrock adds a dimension of intrigue to the Millions field as she is having her first race start.

Some 11 juveniles accepted for the Mackay MM version, which is normally run at Rockhampton, but not so this year because of the track works in progress.

Outstanding youngster, Ron and Bev White’s precocious Shamardal colt Mundi Gully, will lead the field out and has drawn barrier four – ideal for a speedster of his dimension around the turning Mackay circuit.

John Manzelmann’s local Mackay hopeful, Rocket on By, fared badly barrier-wise, copping 10 alley, while highly promising Kevin Birse-trained Blackall baby, the Jet Spur filly Fanciful, got the precarious nine barrier.

Christmas will be in the air at Thangool races today where a number of Callide Valley groups will gather for end-of-year festivities.

The five race card has drawn 54 starters and the Ford Park track should be ideal after good rainfall was recorded on Wednesday.

“The track received 46mm of rain on Wednesday. Since then, jockey Michael Cullen has galloped a horse on the track which went off well and the surface should be ideal for Saturday’s races,” club secretary Edwina Devine said yesterday.

At Barcaldine races today some 50 starters have been declared, which, in common with recent program sizes, seems to be signalling a resurgence of racing in the Central Western Queensland Racing Association.

John Brady and his team at J4S Equine Nursery, Cawarral, are gearing for a busy weekend with an open day today and a reduction sale tomorrow of some top-class thoroughbred broodmares, yearlings and foals and purebred Arabians and Anglo-Arabians.

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