Trainers thrilled with track
TRAINERS have given the new turf track at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse their overwhelming support through nominating 142 horses for the premiere meeting there next Friday.
Part of a Queensland Racing Limited (QRL)-funded $6.5 million track refurbishing, the extensive new couch turf track with a 2000 metres circumference spanning a constant width of 25 metres, was tested under race conditions on Thursday.
Five jump-outs were conducted over varying distances and jockeys were unanimous in their praise of the track surface.
Rockhampton Jockey Club track manager Richard Harris may have been succinct with his summation of the track, but his face was glowing with enthusiasm when he labelled the new grass galloping circuit as “sensational”.
The Neil Boyle-trained Apple Crumble had the distinction of being the first horse to win any form of contest on the new track when it easily won a 1200 metres heat.
On hand to witness the occasion was QRL’s racing services manager, Paul Brennan.
“This track will be one of the best in Queensland. The straight is 580 metres in length and there will be 10 starting positions,” Brennan said.
These will include an 1800 metres starting point which was an adjunct to the original plans whereby after the 1600 metres starting point the next race distance was to be 2000 metres.
Brennan pointed out that Callaghan Park’s new facility boasts 6.4 kilometres of subsoil drainage.
“This will ensure racing continues at Callaghan Park during heavy rainfall,” he said, which was a joy to the ears of industry players.
One man missing next Friday will be popular lightweight hoop Craig Beets, who is joyless presently from sustaining ligament damage to a knee after dismounting from a placegetter at Gladstone races on January 9.
The injury may necessitate surgery, which could keep Beets, who is to see a surgeon next week, out of the saddle for some time.
Toowoomba hoop Paul Randall, seriously considering a permanent move to Rockhampton, started off on the wrong footing when suspended for 10 days on a careless riding charge at Callaghan Park last Tuesday.
Like his prize race mount Mundi Gully, jockey Denis Whitmore will also spell briefly after being outed until midnight on February 2, also on a careless riding misdemeanour from last Tuesday.
Premier hoop Luke Dillon is less $400 of spending money for a planned Gold Coast holiday this week, ironically from a video review over his lone Gold Coast ride on fourth-placed Canny Climb on Magic Millions day – January 9.
It seems Dillon was a tad “whip-happy” as video spying stewards, who imposed the fine in Rockhampton on January 19, counted him hitting Canny Climb with the whip on nine occasions before the 100 metres point of the Magic Millions Country Cup.