Trainer Tony McMahon jumps behind the wheel to keep Imperial Paradis up to speed
ROCKHAMPTON trainer Tony McMahon drew on the genius of legendary trainer George Hanlon in using the training technique that helped Paradis Imperial become Australia’s most ‘‘winningest’’ two-year-old last season.
With seven wins from her 12 starts, Paradis Imperial was also Queensland’s Champion QTIS horse, with the multitude of bonuses propelling her earnings beyond the $300,000 mark — a goldmine return on the $9000 McMahon gave for her as a yearling.
Paradis Imperial will make her three-year-old debut in Saturday’s hot three-year-old event on the Gold Coast.
McMahon conceded that she faced what was most likely an insurmountable task against rivals with Spring Carnival aspirations, but nothing would take away from the fact she has given the trainer-broadcaster his most memorable moments in racing.
“I’m very proud of the fact she won more races than any two-year-old in Australia last season and that she’s been able to win QTIS Horse of the Year,” McMahon said. “She looks the best she’s ever looked, but I’m under no illusions of how tough her task is going to be.
“She’s got to give weight away to every other runner and they will probably roll her, but she owes us absolutely nothing. She’s been a great advertisement for country racing and shown if you place them well, there’s good money to be won.”
Paradis Imperial does the bulk of her training alongside McMahon’s Toyota sedan. Her head collar is attached to a ski rope which clips on to a steel frame as McMahon builds up to speeds of 40km/h.
“It’s a technique I think George Hanlon started many years ago,” McMahon said. “We have a shortage of jockeys up here, so it’s a perfect fix for that and the horses love it.”
McMahon lives 30km from Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park, which he uses for some gallops, but the car is the main tool used to get his horses fit.
McMahon was the voice of Rockhampton and Mackay until a few years ago. He still calls at about 20 country meetings around the state each year, while training a team of six fillies and mares year round.
“It’s much more relaxed calling the bush meetings as opposed to the TABs,” he said. “But when you’ve got one of your own in a race, it doesn’t matter where you are, you still get very nervous.”
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby – Brisbane Courier Mail