Ryan Wiggins will ride Absolut Artie in next Friday’s $85 Rockhampton Cup at Callaghan Park. Picture: Richard Gosling
Ryan Wiggins will ride Absolut Artie in next Friday’s $85 Rockhampton Cup at Callaghan Park. Picture: Richard Gosling

Trainer Vale engages Brisbane jockey for Cup ride

HORSE RACING: Rockhampton trainer Ricky Vale has wasted no time in engaging Brisbane jockey Ryan Wiggins to partner Absolut Artie in next Friday’s $85,000 Rockhampton Cup (1600m) run on July 17.

By winning over the Cup trip in open company at Callaghan Park racecourse on Tuesday, Absolut Artie gained immediate entry into the Cup, much to the relief of Vale.

“Artie had to win Tuesday’s race to be guaranteed a Cup start. Even after that win had it not of been a qualifying race, his benchmark rating may not have been high enough to get him in,” Vale said.

“It’s not ideal having to back him up again in 10 days as I usually space his runs as he goes so well fresh but at least we are now in the Cup.”

Wiggins has been in dynamic winning form at Rockhampton meetings recently where on Tuesday he rode a treble of winners.

He has had two rides on Absolut Artie for as many wins while the front running grey has a perfect score of three wins from as many Callaghan Park starts over the Cup trip of 1600m.

Jockey Ashley Butler has the best record on Absolut Artie with five wins on him but he would not be able to make the light weight the grey will get in the Rockhampton Cup.

Wiggins also has the plumb ride on the Jared Wehlow trained Inquiry in the $65K Rockhampton Newmarket (1200m) for which, at this stage, he is the nominal favourite.

Inquiry, on the basis of his outstanding record and last start win in the Listed Chief De Beers Stakes in Brisbane, is assured of his share of weight in the Newmarket which underpins the Rocky Cup on July 17.

Trainer Graeme Green expects Master Jamie will also take his place in the Newmarket field given that he has recovered so well from his Brisbane unplaced effort last Saturday under 63.5kg.

“I was proud of him. He led up and just got over run in the final 100m. Jamie wasn’t beaten that far and will be all the fitter for that courageous second-up run. Given that the Newmarket is under Quality Handicap weight conditions, he should drop quite a bit in the handicaps,” Green said.

Rockhampton’s star juvenile this winter in the Darryl Johnston trained Aspen Lad will take his place in a star-studded speed dominated line-up over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast’s feature meeting on Saturday.

Johnston has engaged heavyweight jockey Brad Pengelly for the ride, believing the pair will be an ideal match.

The winner of his last three starts at Townsville, Cairns and Mackay, the handicapper has given Aspen Lad 57.5kg, just three kilograms less than the brilliant Kisukano.

A number of front running juveniles have been declared to run in the 11-horse race which will command tremendous interest and provide a true guide to Aspen Lad’s potential.

Brilliant three year old filly Better Reflection trialled pleasingly at Callaghan Park in winning over 900m in the fastest time of the morning on Tuesday.

Better Reflection (Ash Butler) is led out for her winning Callaghan Park barrier trial on Wednesday by Meggsie Hall. Picture: Tony McMahon
Better Reflection (Ash Butler) is led out for her winning Callaghan Park barrier trial on Wednesday by Meggsie Hall. Picture: Tony McMahon

Better Reflection, the best of her gender for that age group in Central Queensland, ran an out of character last in Brisbane just on two weeks ago.

Ashley Butler kept her to the task in the trial and she won by 2.75 lengths from Class 1 horse Aleysa’s Miracle who caught the eye with such competitiveness.

Better Reflection ran home the last 600m of the trial in a fleeting 32.68 seconds which is akin to low level flying.

“I thought she trialled good. Better still she pulled up well and she was scoped after the trial and passed with flying colours. I think the use of a tongue tie worked well,” trainer John Wigginton said.

Bettter Reflection will be given her chance to register a third Brisbane win when she contests a QTIS 3YO Handicap (1200m) at Doomben on July 25.

Nominations close next Monday for the Rockhampton Cup meeting on July 17 which offers over $300,000 in prize money and trophies.



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