Track queen Erica sure to be missed at Callaghan Park
IF jockeys had to compile a log-on book for completing early morning track work duties at Callaghan Park racecourse, departing Rockhampton jockey Erica Heinemann would be a clear winner.
Absenteeism is not a word in Erica's vocabulary, which at times mind you can be very colourful to say the least.
Over the years she has ridden track work for dozens of trainers at Callaghan Park arriving there as early as 3am.
Rockhampton trainer Jim O'Shea has been one of Heinemann's most constant patrons.
"Erica has ridden horses work for me here for as long as I can remember. She turns up every morning and has only ever missed a day when she has been genuinely injured. I'll miss her as she will be hard to replace because she is so reliable," O'Shea said.
Heinemann, 40 leaves Rockhampton where she has resided for the past nine years and heads back to family in Quilpie.
True to her work ethic though, firstly this morning, she'll ride horses track work for trainers at Callaghan Park.
"Things just haven't been working out for me here over the past few months and my life wasn't going anywhere,'' she said.
"An offer came for a job back home in Quilpie and I can also ride some horses there for a local trainer.
"I have a block of land back there so I've decided to go back home and hope for a fresh start."
Originally indentured as an apprentice to Barry Baldwin, she firstly came to Rockhampton in 1995 where riding as a jockey with moderate success before returning to Brisbane.
There Erica was sought after as a track work rider and names the 2001 VRC Derby winner Amalfi as the best horse her 47kg body has sat upon.
"I rode some very good horses work over the years, but Amalfi, trained by Peter Moody was the best. I can always say I rode a Derby winner," she said.
Rockhampton trainer Fred Smith's Motorised and Jared Wehlow's Beautiful Timing have drawn poorly at barrier 16 and 10 respectively in their races at Doomben in Brisbane today.
Top jock Adrian Coome, who would rather forget his unsuccessful Doomben riding foray last Saturday, has some good rides at Thangool races today.
On a starter's basis, the meeting is one of the best five race programs scheduled at Thangool's Ford Park racecourse for a long time.