Toowoomba track given more time to recover before winter carnival


Toowoomba racetrack has been out of play since January 17.

Toowoomba racetrack has been out of play since January 17. Source: Supplied

TOOWOOMBA’S troubled track will be given as long as necessary to recover as officials hold their breath going into the winter carnival.

Toowoomba has been out of play since January 17 and officials announced on Tuesday that the course proper would be given at least another two weeks to recover.

The February 21 meeting has been moved to the inner track, while the February 28 meeting has been transferred to Warwick.

“It definitely needs more time,” Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon said. “Our aim is to make sure the track is right.’’

In a surprise move, Toowoomba was parachuted into this year’s winter carnival schedule and officials are desperate not to repeat the embarrassing events of New Year’s Eve, when the surface was widely condemned as not suitable for feature racing.

“We’re confident we will eventually get it back to a level that is just as good as Mackay,’’

Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon says the Toowoomba track needs to be give

Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon says the Toowoomba track needs to be given a break every year. Source: Supplied

Condon said.

“We’re trialling different blends of grass that might work better with the climate in Toowoomba.

“The problem has been the grass at the moment is a very heavy thatching grass, which means it hinders drainage and also has a lot of kickback.”

Officials admitted to over-using the new Strathayr track after it opened on December 31, 2013, and that traffic was exacerbated by management issues.

It now seems likely Toowoomba will be given an annual rest, to help it recover from one of the heaviest racing schedules in the country.

“I do think we need a maintenance program where the track receives a break every year,” Condon said.

Fields on the inner track will be reduced by between two and four runners, depending on distances.

■ FINAL results from Queensland’s nine irregular tests to cobalt will not be available for at least another week.

Racing Queensland expects to receive test results from Western Australia by tomorrow “at the earliest” and then the samples will undergo referee analysis at another lab.

Racing Victoria this week revealed their probe into samples taken from horses of high-profile trainers Peter Moody, Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh would be finished by the end of next month.

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby




Six trainers face possible bans over cobalt levels after initial Racing Queensland tests

Six Queensland trainers are facing potential bans over cobalt levels.

Six Queensland trainers are facing potential bans over cobalt levels. Source: Getty Images

THREE thoroughbred and three harness trainers are facing possible bans after nine samples came back above the cobalt threshold in Racing Queensland’s initial tests on 340 urine samples.

But no names were revealed as Racing Queensland wish to keep the identity of those trainers in possible hot water secret until the B-samples of the nine irregularities are completed.

The B-samples will be sent to Perth for testing next week.

One thoroughbred trainer linked to the irregularities voluntary handed in his trainers’ license last year.

Initially, Racing Queensland conducted 290 tests for cobalt on Queensland harness and thoroughbred races up until June 2014 and nine of those samples came back as concerning.

The nine samples had to be sent to Perth for further testing.

Three of those samples had already been given the all clear prior to today’s announcement after coming under the 200 microgram per litre of urine cobalt threshold.

The other six samples came back above the threshold, four harness samples from three different trainers and two thoroughbred samples from two different trainers.

Racing Queensland also sent a further 50 samples from as recent as December last year to Perth for testing.

Of those samples, three came back above the threshold, two harness samples from two trainers both linked to the initial irregularities and one thoroughbred sample from one trainer.

Combining all the tests, there were six harness samples from three trainers and three thoroughbred samples from three trainers that came back irregular.

The Queensland cobalt drama comes after it was announced that three Victorian trainers- Peter Moody, Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh- are facing possible bans after horses in their care returned levels above the new cobalt threshold during the spring carnival last year.

The 200 microgram cobalt threshold was officially introduced in Australian racing on January 1 this year.


Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin





They’re racing at Home Hill tomorrow – here’s some help!!

With the upgrade to the Townsville track now underway Home Hill will be taking over some of their TAB meetings. Home Hill is between Townsville & the Whitsundays (approx. 1 hour south of Townsville).

The surface is grass & the track circumference is approx. 1600m with a home straight of 220m. Burdekin RC President Ross Tapiolas advises runners need to be up on the pace before they straighten up.

With thanks to the club I have attached a rough diagram below.


Home Hill Racecourse


Selections – (Track a Firm 2)

Race 1    6, 2, 3, 4

Race 2    8, 10, 6, 5

Race 3    5, 4, 6, 1

Race 4    4, 1, 3, 2

Race 5    5, 3, 4, 1

Race 6    8, 9, 1, 4




Strathayr surface to make rain abandonments in Brisbane virtually non-existent

Strathayr specialist Mourinho (right) claims the Group 2 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valle

Strathayr specialist Mourinho (right) claims the Group 2 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

ABANDONED meetings will become non-existent in Brisbane in the future if Mackay’s Strathayr surface is any guide.

Mackay was pummelled with more than 100mm on Thursday, yet the track deteriorated to only a Soft 6 during the course of the meeting and the Open handicap horses were still able to break 35 seconds for their final 600m in the sixth event.

Michael Browell says the Moonee Valley surface cannot be faulted.

Michael Browell says the Moonee Valley surface cannot be faulted. Source: News Limited

Doomben was washed out after more than 100mm fell on Thursday and Friday and the Gold Coast was also abandoned.

Doomben is renowned as one of the best drying tracks in southeast Queensland, but technology has improved dramatically since its last revamp.

Mackay, like Toowoomba, is a Strathayr track built with a reinforced sand profile.

It is designed to drain at a rate of 100mm per hour.

Jockey Justin Stanley, a winner on Craiglea Jabiru on Thursday, declared it “the best surface in Australia”.

“If that track had been at the Gold Coast or Doomben, we would have been racing here on Saturday,” Stanley said.

“The drainage is just remarkable. For a track that had 100mm, we were just stunned.

“ They were hardly marking the track, there were no issues with visibility — apart from a few goggles fogging up — and there was no kickback.”

Though the Brisbane Racing Club and Racing Queensland have gone with Evergreen, rather than Strathayr, Eagle Farm is also going to be designed to cater for drainage at the same rate.

The concept is similar.

It will have a reinforced sand profile, but unlike the Strathayr, which uses mesh in grid form to bind the sand, Eagle Farm will have fibre mixed through the sand.

Evergreen has been involved with a number of prominent projects, including the new 2400m Pakenham grass track, which is scheduled to have its first meeting in March.

The trailblazer in Australia for Strathayr tracks was Moonee Valley, which is now into its 20th season on the surface.

MVRC chief executive Michael Browell is unaware of any meetings being lost through rain in that time and said even though Melbourne was not subjected to the tropical-type rain received in Queensland, it was still a phenomenal record.

“It’s 20 years old, but the track here is still outstanding. We’re rapt with it,” Browell said.

Mackay will come in for heavier use over the next six months, with Townsville set for a $7 million upgrade.

Racing Queensland this week shifted meetings scheduled at Townsville up to March 7 to Cairns and Home Hill so preliminary works can begin immediately.

The aim is to have Townsville resume racing in time for its carnival in July and Mackay is certain to be allocated some of those Townsville meetings up to that point.

MVRC chief executive Michael Browell is unaware of any meetings being lost through rain i

MVRC chief executive Michael Browell is unaware of any meetings being lost through rain in 20 years.

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby




Heathcote hones in on Sunshine Coast card

Robert Heathcote is set to end a good week at the yearling sales by emerging from his annual mid-summer hiatus with five top chances at the Sunshine Coast.

Heathcote is second in both the metropolitan premiership with 36 wins and on the state ladder with 54 wins for the season.

He is traditionally quiet during the Gold Coast carnival where he again failed to visit the winners’ circle in three Saturdays of racing.

“It is well documented that my horses aren’t suited by the Gold Coast track,” Heathcote said.

“It turns the whole way and that just doesn’t seem to suit them.”

“I never have much luck there and I am always quiet around Magic Millions time.”

Heathcote is however looking to the future with the Magic Millions meeting worth $10 million next year.

He picked up seven yearlings at the Magic Millions Sales this week including two close relatives to his Group One star Buffering.

Heathcote is the leading trainer at the Sunshine Coast this year and admits he has targeted the track.

“I think they deserve plenty of kudos. It is the fairest track in Queensland and they have done a good job maintaining it,” he said.

Heathcote will saddle up Sea Red, Excellantes, Treatmelikealady, Magic In Motion and Bewhatyouwannabe.

“Sea Red is very good fresh but she is probably one run off being at her top. At least she seems to have come back in a better humour this campaign as she could be a real handful,” Heathcote said.

Story courtesy Mark Oberhardt




Popular jockey Chris Munce to retire after Saturday’s Magic Millions meeting

CHAMPION jockey Chris Munce hopes to end his career on the highest note when he rides Wicked Intent in Saturday’s Magic Millions.

Munce announced his retirement from a near 30-year career in Brisbane this morning.

“It’s been a great career for me but I feel it’s time for me to move onto the next chapter in my life, which will be as a racehorse trainer,” he said.

“It’s been a long range plan to take on a new challenge.

MM barrier a boost for Intent

MM sales ‘will overtake’ Inglis

“After 30 years in the industry, I don’t want to walk away from it and training horses is the obvious next step.”

Chris Munce aboard Wicked Intent. Picture: Josh Woning

Chris Munce aboard Wicked Intent. Picture: Josh Woning Source: News Corp Australia

Munce has ridden more than 2500 winners and is one of only seven jockeys in the elite club of having won the ‘Grand Slam’ of Australian racing.

He won the 1998 Melbourne Cup on Jezabeel, the same year he won his first Golden Slipper on Prowl. He added a second Slipper in 2004 with Dance Hero and then won that year’s Cox Plate on Savabeel.

He completed the Grand Slam in 2010 when successful on Descarado in the Caulfield Cup.

He conceded that Caulfield Cup and then his effort to become the first rider to achieve a Century of Winners in a Brisbane season, completed everything he wanted to achieve in his career.

Chris Munce at home with painting of Melbourne Cup winner Jezabeel. Picture: Steve Pohlne

Chris Munce at home with painting of Melbourne Cup winner Jezabeel. Picture: Steve Pohlner Source: News Limited

Not long after, Munce was diagnosed with throat cancer and even though he’s been given the all clear, he said his passion for riding had not been the same since making that comeback.

The only other jockeys to achieve the feat of the big four are Damien Oliver, Mick Dittman, Jim Cassidy, Pat Hyland, Neville Sellwood and Roy Higgins.

Munce thanked his wife Cathy, children and his manager Garry Legg.

Munce conceded Saturday would be an emotional day, but also one of his proudest.

“Cathy and I picked out Wicked Intent last year and paid $15,000 for the colt. He has a terrific group of owners, we’ve had some great fun on our current journey,” he said.

“Win, lose or draw on Saturday, seeing their reactions to his performances this preparation is worth a million in itself.

A jockey’s life: A very muddy Chris Munce. Picture: Jono Searle

A jockey’s life: A very muddy Chris Munce. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

“This is one of my biggest thrills. I will be riding my father-in-law Barry Mitchell’s horse Wicked Intent, but I will also be leaving the jockeys room for the last time.

“That will be one of the toughest things for me. There’s a tremendous camaraderie between the jockeys and I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden against some of the greats.”

In 2006, Munce was jailed in Hong Kong for tipping horses to a businessman. He spent seven months in a Hong Kong jail before being transferred to Australia to complete his sentence in Sydney’s Silverwater Jail.

“It seems like a lifetime ago,” Munce said. “Hong Kong is something I don’t think about now.

“I tend not to worry about it any more. What’s happened has happened. I’ve moved on.”

Story courtesy  Nathan Exelby




Magic Millions 2YO Classic 2015: Family ties to colt Wicked Intent have Chris Munce focused on Gold Coast feature

Chris Munce’s ride in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, Wicked Intent, is trained by his fa

Chris Munce’s ride in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, Wicked Intent, is trained by his father-in law Barry Mitchell and his wife Cathy played a key role in selecting the colt. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

IT’S the perennial winners versus the bridesmaids and first timers in the countdown to Saturday’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast.

Chris Munce and Gai Waterhouse are the two most successful names in Magic Millions history.

Twice they have combined to win the race, with Dance Hero (2004) and Excellerator (2001). Munce also won the race on Sunblazer in 1989.

The main for the occasion: jockey Chris Munce. Picture: Jono Searle

The main for the occasion: jockey Chris Munce. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

Waterhouse claimed additional Millions with Driefontein and Assertive Lad.

Carriages will carry the hopes of the Waterhouse stable this year after impressing everyone with a trackwork spin at Doomben on Saturday.

In typically confident style, Waterhouse declared the filly “the one to beat”.

Munce rides Wicked Intent, the flashy chestnut who had his grip on favouritism loosened when defeated at the Gold Coast late last month.

However, his previous three wins, all by big margins, make him the one to beat and Munce admits this would be his most satisfying Millions win, given Wicked Intent is trained by his father-in law Barry Mitchell and the key role his wife Cathy played in selecting the colt.

“With Barry and Cathy, it’s a real team effort, so it will have extra significance for sure,” Munce said.

“There’s a lot of satisfaction with something like that. Cathy and I went to the sales and picked out this horse for not a lot of money.

“To think how many horses were sold at Magic Millions last year, it’s a bit of an effort just to get one that qualifies for the race.

“Cathy only bought four yearlings, so from only a small throw at the stumps, we’ve come up with this bloke.

“To think we’ve got one of the top chances in the race is fantastic and to win it would be a feather in the cap for everyone.

Conversely to Munce and Waterhouse’s celebrations, shrewd Eagle Farm trainer Liam Birchley is sick of talking about his Magic Millions near misses.

Gai Waterhouse always makes her presence felt during the Magic Millions carnival. Picture

Gai Waterhouse always makes her presence felt during the Magic Millions carnival. Picture: Glenn Hampson Source: GoldCoastBulletin

Birchley built his reputation on buying bargain horses out of the MM sales and turning them into racetrack money makers.

He’s won support races on MM day but the 2YO Classic has proven elusive.

In 2009, he saddled up hot favourite Paprika, who was bloused late by subsequent Golden Slipper winner Phelan Ready. In 2013, Missy Longstocking and Ruby Soho have run third for the trainer in the past two years.

Birchley’s back with three chances this year, Saga Of The Storm, Pepperano and Flamenco.

“The more I can get in the better,” Birchley said. “That means there’s one less spot for someone to beat me.”

Sydney trainer Gerald Ryan has a similarly frustrating Millions record.

Snitzel started one of the shortest-priced favourites in the race’s history in 2005, but could do no better than a dead heat for third behind Bradbury’s Luck.

Ryan also had Danbird run second two years earlier and in 2011, Schiffer was third.

Ryan’s Perignon came into MM reckoning with a convincing Sydney win last week. He is set to have his final gallop in Sydney on Tuesday before being floated to the Gold Coast.

Gun apprentice Luke Tarrant will make his Magic Millions debut after winning on Le Chef a

Gun apprentice Luke Tarrant will make his Magic Millions debut after winning on Le Chef at the Gold Coast. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

Trainer Les Ross and gifted jockey Brad Stewart are seeking to spoil the party for the usual MM suspects, with flying filly Frequendly back into contention after a big win at Toowoomba on Wednesday.

Gun apprentice Luke Tarrant will be making his Magic Millions debut on Saturday.

Tarrant, the rising star of Queensland racing, earned his spot with an easy win on Le Chef on Saturday.

“He wasn’t really comfortable on that (wet) track and if it’s dry next week I think he’s right in it,” Tarrant said.

Story Courtesy Nathan Exelby Sunday Mail




Magic Millions 2YO Classic 2015: Chris Munce adamant Wicked Intent can make amends

Don’t give up on the Queenslander: Wicked Intent with Chris Munce. Picture: Jono Searle

Don’t give up on the Queenslander: Wicked Intent with Chris Munce. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

CHRIS Munce has pointed to the example of Sepoy in maintaining his confidence that Wicked Intent is still the one to beat in the Magic Millions, despite suffering his first defeat on Saturday.

Wicked Intent lost his aura of invincibility when beaten by Mishani Honcho at the Gold Coast, with bookmakers immediately easing him in Magic Millions betting.

Chris Munce says Wicked Intent can redeem himself. Picture: Jono Searle

Chris Munce says Wicked Intent can redeem himself. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

But Munce is adamant the run was full of merit and not something to toss the toys out of the cot over.

“Sepoy did the same thing. He was beaten in the Todman at really short odds and then came out and blew them away in the Slipper,” Munce said.

Though he wasn’t beaten, many also dropped off Brave Warrior in the 1994 MM after deeming him unimpressive in his lead-up win.

Munce said Brave Warrior simply didn’t like Doomben and said there were legitimate excuses for Wicked Intent as well.

“If he’d finished tailed off then I would have walked away disappointed, but the fact is, he ran second and had legitimate excuses,” he said.

“People are saying he can’t run 1200m. If he can’t run 1200m, then God help the eight that finished behind him.

“I felt it was more like a 1300m race on that track. He was taken on early by a couple and they finished out the back while my bloke was fighting out the finish.”

Sepoy isn’t the only Slipper winner to bounce back from a last-start defeat. Others in the last dozen years include Mossfun, Phelan Ready, Forensics, Miss Finland and Calaway Gal.

Chris Munce and Wicked Intent combine to win at Doomben. Picture: Jono Searle

Chris Munce and Wicked Intent combine to win at Doomben. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

But the Magic Millions is a little different. Most winners are last-start winners.

In fact, the only exceptions to that rule since 1990 are Lovely Jubly, Regimental Gal, Mirror Mirror and Phelan Ready.

Munce however does have a precedent for bucking the Millions trend.
Before Lovely Jubly (2002), the previous MM winner to have suffered a last-start defeat was Sunblazer, who gave Munce his first win in the race in 1989.



Magic Millions: Gold Coast to host Australia’s first $10 million race day in 2016

The Magic Millions set to become Australia’s richest race day.

The Magic Millions set to become Australia’s richest race day. Source: News Limited


THE Gold Coast will host Australia’s first $10 million race day in 2016, with Racing Queensland and Magic Millions this morning announcing a seven-year partnership agreement.

The first of the seven committed years will be held on Magic Millions Day 2016, where no less than seven individual $1 million races are scheduled.

The figure eclipses the current $9.9 million distributed at Randwick on day one of The Championships in April and represents a huge rise on the not-quite $3.5 million horses will compete for at this season’s Magic Millions day on January 10.

Gerry Harvey at this year’s Magic Millions yearling sale.

Gerry Harvey at this year’s Magic Millions yearling sale. Source: News Limited


The Magic Millions 2YO Classic will go to $2.5 million and the MM Guineas upped to $2 Million.

The other seven figure races programmed are:

$1M MM Cup (1400m)

$1M MM Trophy (1800m)

$1M MM Sprint (1100m)

$1M MM Fillies and Mares (1300m)

$1M QTIS All Aged Handicap (Distance to be determined)

Rounding out the program will be a $250,000 Country Cup and $250,000 Magic Millions Maiden.

The announcement means all horses being sold at next month’s MM Gold Coast Sale will be eligible for the $10 million series.

For horses already sold through Magic Millions, but not paid up for the race series, an opportunity will be afforded in the next few months to pay up (excluding the 2YO and 3YO races).

The annual Magic Millions race day at the Gold Coast turf club is set to become Australia

The annual Magic Millions race day at the Gold Coast turf club is set to become Australia’s richest meeting. Source: News Limited


Another incentive, designed to attract better horses to Queensland’s Summer Carnival, is that home-bred horses (those not sold at public auction) can make their way into four of the $1M races by competing in a number of ‘wildcard’ races leading up to the Magic Millions.

Up until now, all horses competing on MM Day had to be sold as a yearling through the Magic Millions sales series, at sales on the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth or Tasmania.

Magic Millions has been the great success story of Australian racing.

Its first sale in 1986 had just 200 horses and the following year’s inaugural 2YO Classic was won by Snippets, who went onto Group 1 success and become a flag-bearer for the sales company.

This year, Magic Millions became the highest selling auction house in Australia for the first time.

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Courier Mail



Rain-affected Villiers a boost for Moments

By Warwick Barr

SYDNEY, Dec 9 AAP – Steven O’Dea will embrace the prospect of rain more than most Villiers Stakes trainers, claiming Sydney’s weather forecast can only enhance the chances of gifted galloper Sir Moments.

Sir Moments is one of the favourites to win the famous Group Two race but the likelihood of a rain-affected track at Randwick on Saturday will almost certainly make him stand alone as the horse to beat.

Rain is predicted on Wednesday with heavier falls on Thursday, a forecast which would consign one of the feature meetings of the summer to be run on a track rated soft or worse.

Sir Moments has an unblemished record in the wet, including two wins at Listed level.

“He’s won two from two on the soft and one from one on the heavy so I won’t mind it at all if the track is wet,” O’Dea said.

Sir Moments will stretch out to the mile in the Villiers for the first time since ending his late autumn and winter campaign on a winning note in Brisbane.

But he gave every indication he is looking for the distance in running on late to finish fifth – less than two lengths from the winner – in the Festival Stakes at Rosehill.

“He’s done well in the week-and-a-half since and his work’s been very good,” O’Dea said. “I’m really looking forward to getting him to the big track at Randwick.”

Sir Moments has been given 55.5kg, 2.5kg over the limit but 3.5kg less than topweight Monton.

Monton will be trying to win his second Villiers, three years after beating Kontiki Park when the race was run at Warwick Farm.

The Ron Quinton-trained veteran heads Villiers weights from Mouro (58kg), Aomen (57.5kg) and Strawberry Boy (57kg).

Festival Stakes winner I’m Imposing has 56.5kg.

Trainer Tony McEvoy is preparing to send Mouro to Brisbane rather than risk the six-year-old on a track that won’t be to the horse’s liking.

McEvoy will be left with Pelicano, first-up for 12 months but at home in rain-affected going, as his Villiers horse.

The Villiers is one of three black-type races at Randwick with Howmuchdoyouloveme the 59kg topweight for the feature sprint – the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap.

Our Boy Malachi goes up 2.5kg to 57kg for his last-start Starlight Stakes win, his second victory in Sydney and his 15th from 17 starts.

The Chris Waller-trained Permit heads weights for the Listed Christmas Cup with 59kg.



Helen Page returns to Sydney with Rudy

By Caryl Williamson

SYDNEY, Dec 8 AAP – A quarter of a century after she won the Villiers Stakes with Spot The Rock, Helen Page believes she has the horse to give her another victory in the summer feature.

The former Sydney trainer has been at the Gold Coast for the past 18 years and only makes the trip south if she thinks it will be worth it.

The last time she felt like that was 10 years ago when Doonan came to Rosehill to win the $1 million Golden Rose.

A decade on and Page is bringing the in-form Rudy to Sydney to contest the Group Two Villiers (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.

“I think he is ready to take on those horses,” Page said.

“He will appreciate the bigger track at Randwick more than Doomben. He likes a bit of room.”

The Villiers will be Rudy’s fourth run back from a spell following his unplaced run in the Queensland Derby and he comes to Sydney as the last-start winner of the Listed Recognition Stakes (1630m) at Doomben.

He finished second at his previous two starts, beating another leading Villiers contender Sir Moments home on November 1 over 1350 metres.

Page has kept faith with apprentice Luke Tarrant who has ridden Rudy at his past two starts.

“I’m not just bringing an apprentice. I’m bringing Queensland’s leading rider down,” she said.

“It is a big thing for him but he won’t be over-awed by the occasion.

“I’ve spoken to Darren Beadman and he is going to give Luke a few pointers about how to ride Randwick.”

Tarrant has taken his riding to a new level this season and has a seven-win buffer over veteran Jim Byrne in the Brisbane premiership and leads country apprentice Matthew McGillivray by two in the state title.

Rudy was one of 17 entries taken on Monday for the Villiers with 2011 winner Monton the top rater on 107.

The Ron Quinton-trained Monton failed to muster a finishing sprint in the Festival Stakes won by I’m Imposing on November 29 when 11th of the 13 runners.

I’m Imposing is one of three nominations from the Chris Waller stable which has also entered Strawberry Boy and Multilateral, third and sixth respectively in the Festival.




TAB agencies go hi-tech in TattsBet vision for the future of wagering

Queensland’s futuristic new TAB agencies will be rebranded as Ubet.

Queensland’s futuristic new TAB agencies will be rebranded as Ubet. Source: Supplied


WELCOME to the new world of betting, where static radio and cardboard betting tickets are replaced by giant flatscreen televisions, stadium seating and digital betting devices.

This is the vision TattsBet, or UBET as it will be known, has for the future of its 1400 retail outlets in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

The first of the newly designed TAB agencies, a lab store at New Farm’s Merthyr Rd, is due for completion early next year. It will be followed by a rollout across another 200 stand-alone retail outlets and then a similar overhaul of the 1200 pubs and clubs which house TattsBet agencies.

TattsBet chief operating officer Barrie Fletton said the new concept was a world away from the way the totalisator had done business since first opening agencies in 1962.

“Our environment hasn’t evolved a great deal over the years,” he said.

The hub of every UBET outlet will be a series of 24 TV screens.

The hub of every UBET outlet will be a series of 24 TV screens.


“We’ve refreshed a number of agencies, but not stepped back and properly considered the concept as a whole.

“We think this will be a game-changer for wagering in Australia.

“We appreciate some of the existing outlets are pretty outdated and not particularly inviting. This will help attract a new, younger customer, while making our existing customers more comfortable.

“Both racing and sports punters will notice a dramatic improvement.”

Sound canopies will provide directional and highly focused audio.

Sound canopies will provide directional and highly focused audio.


The new-look retail outlets are a key part of aligning the group’s wagering arm under the one brand, UBET.

“The rebrand, new retail concept and new website and mobile app will allow us to create a seamless, multi-channel experience,” Mr Fletton said.

The concept has been designed to provide customers with a fully immersive sports entertainment experience.

The hub of every UBET outlet will be a series of 24 television screens suspended from the ceiling, that together provide more than six metres of viewing space. Racing and sports vision can be adapted to suit the occasion.

The TAB of yesteryear was a back-to-basics affair.

The TAB of yesteryear was a back-to-basics affair.


Sound canopies have been introduced to provide directional and highly focused audio within specific zones, allowing punters watching different events to simultaneously hear clear, relevant audio.

Punters will also have access to tablets with UBET apps, allowing them to bet from the comfort of stadium seating in front of the vision wall, underneath the sound canopies.

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby


New Track Rating System

By Tatts Staff

Photo of Horse Race - Large
A new global race track rating system has been adopted in Australia.



Australia has implemented a new system for rating of race track surfaces from 01 December, 2014. Numerical track ratings remain, however the associated descriptions have been amended to be more consistent with other jurisdictions overseas.

Rating            Description                                                                                                          Previous
Firm 1         Dry hard track                                                                       (Fast)
Firm 2         Firm track with reasonable grass coverage                         (Good)
Good 3        Track with good grass coverage and cushion                      (Good)
Good 4        Track with some give in it                                                    (Dead)
Soft 5          Track with a reasonable amount of give in it                      (Dead)
Soft 6          Moist but not a badly affected track                                  (Slow)
Soft 7          More rain-affected track that will chop out                       (Slow)
Heavy 8       Rain-affected track that horses will get into                      (Heavy)
Heavy 9       Wet track getting into a squelchy area                               (Heavy)
Heavy10      Heaviest category track, very wet, towards saturation      (Heavy)
Late last year, the Australian Racing Board (ARB) resolved to modernise track ratings to make them a clearer and more accurate guide for punters and industry participants alike. The ARB issued a revised scale in January, 2014 and called for public and industry input. Retention of the numerical scale of 1-10 was strongly endorsed by punters, whilst most of the submissions centred on the ratings and their description.

Information courtesy



Calls for Sunshine Coast to hold metro meetings as concern mounts over Doomben’s bias

Aerial view of Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane, which leading trainers and jockeys suggest

Aerial view of Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane, which leading trainers and jockeys suggest has a bias issue. Source: News Corp Australia


RACING Queensland has begun reacting to calls from the state’s leading trainers and jockeys to hold more metropolitan meetings at the Sunshine Coast as concerns over the state of the Ipswich track and the on-pace bias at Doomben reach boiling point.

The Sunshine Coast has hosted just one of the 28 metropolitan meetings held in Queensland since Eagle Farm officially closed for renovations on August 20.

This comes despite statistics obtained by The Bulletin showing the spacious Sunshine Coast course is clearly the fairest track in the state at present.

Since Eagle Farm closed, 54 per cent of all winners at the Sunshine Coast have come from the first four horses settling down in running.

In contrast, the figure is a concerning 70 per cent at Doomben and rises to 79 per cent for horses who settle in the first five in running at this track.

In fact, Doomben is playing worse than the other three major Queensland tracks in use at present.

Senior jockey Michael Cahill said the figures confirmed there was a bias problem at Brisbane’s only functioning metropolitan track.

“The statistics show it is hard to make ground at Doomben and there has been an on-pace bias at Doomben recently for whatever reason,” he said.

“I think they should move more (metro) meetings to the Sunshine Coast and when the rail is in the true position, the Sunshine Coast is as good as any track in Australia.”

Multiple Group 1-winning jockey Chris Munce said the argument of running more races at the Sunshine Coast had good points.

“Caloundra is probably the best track in Queensland and I can’t see why it shouldn’t be utilised a bit more,” he said.

Trainer Robert Heathcote is leading the charge to move metro meetings to the Sunshine Coa

Trainer Robert Heathcote is leading the charge to move metro meetings to the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Mark Cranitch. Source: News Corp Australia


With Eagle Farm out of action until at least mid-2015, leading Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote said it was time something was done.

Doomben’s tight dimensions has meant the track has always suited frontrunners but Heathcote said it had only become an issue in recent months.

“Doomben is Doomben and it has been that way since I’ve been training in Queensland but it has been offset with Eagle Farm the following week and trainers have had options,” he said.

“Now with Eagle Farm out of the equation, personally I wish they had more Saturday metro racing on the Sunshine Coast because they presently have the best track in Queensland.”

And the message appears to be getting through.

The March 7 metropolitan meeting set down for Doomben next year is expected to be moved to the Sunshine Coast.

Also, next week’s Wednesday metropolitan meeting has been moved from Ipswich to the Sunshine Coast after jockeys expressed concern about the state of the Ipswich track on Wednesday.

Senior jockey Jim Byrne said the track was dangerous in certain areas and it was another headache RQ didn’t need after the course was renovated earlier this year.

“Ninety per cent of the track is really good but there are a couple of sections that are really bad,” Byrne said.

Along with hosting extra metro meetings, there are also calls to move Queensland’s most prestigious race, the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap, to the Sunshine Coast next year due to the concerns at Doomben.

Heathcote and Gold Coast trainer Bryan Guy are both in favour of the move but rival trainer Tony Gollan is against the idea.

“It’s a ridiculous idea and nine times out of 10 at that time of year the track is wet up there,” he said.

“When the Sunshine Coast is wet it doesn’t dry out and it’s a swamp.

Why would you take Brisbane’s premier race and run it outside of Brisbane?”

Sunshine Coast Turf Club chief executive Mick Sullivan said the club was willing to adapt to the needs of the industry but warned the track couldn’t cope with much more racing.

“We are hosting 69 or 70 meetings (this season) now,” he said.

RQ officials did not return calls from The Bulletin yesterday.

Story courtesy Brad Davidson



Looks Like The Cat sold to Hong Kong interests in deal “too good to refuse”

Young players Looks Like The Cat and Rich Enuff made their presence felt during the sprin

Young players Looks Like The Cat and Rich Enuff made their presence felt during the spring carnival. Picture: Colleen Petch Source: News Corp Australia


OWNER Troy Schmidt has revealed the successful offer to sell Looks Like The Cat to Hong Kong was “too good to refuse”.

After months of speculation and five official requests to buy, the star Queensland three-year-old was sold to overseas interests on Tuesday and will be trained by last season’s champion Hong Kong trainer Caspar Fownes.

Managing owner Schmidt spoke while Looks Like The Cat was being loaded onto a float at his River Junction Farm in Gympie on Tuesday and said he had mixed emotions about the sale.

Mirror image: Retired sprinter Apache Cat (left) and Looks Like The Cat, who has similar

Mirror image: Retired sprinter Apache Cat (left) and Looks Like The Cat, who has similar flashy markings. Source: Getty Images


After purchasing Looks Like The Cat for $60,000 as a weanling in May 2012, Schmidt also bought his mother Fiery Dee for $10,000 at a Patinack Farm broodmare sale months later and said the future still looked bright for his breeding operation.

“I’ve got mixed feelings about the sale but we are breeders and we have got to be seen to be sellers,” he said.

“It’s a bit exciting really because we’ve got a half-sister to him by Murtajill going through the (Magic Millions) yearling sale in January and we have a full sister to him on the ground and the mare is 45 days positive to Snitzel.

“All of (Fiery Dee’s foals) will be for sale and we have recently purchased Fiery Dee’s sister as part of our broodmare band as well.”

Schmidt, who sold Looks Like The Cat for $175,000 prior to his first start only for the deal to fall through, did not reveal how much the Husson gelding was sold for but said the offer “was too good to refuse”.

Schmidt said in October that he had already knocked back multiple offers in excess of $1 million for Looks Like The Cat as he wanted to race him on until at least the end of the spring carnival.

Looks Like The Cat with strapper Kiaarn Hollan at Flemington in the early spring. Picture

Looks Like The Cat with strapper Kiaarn Hollan at Flemington in the early spring. Picture: Michael Klein Source: News Corp Australia


Schmidt was hoping to claim an elusive Group 1 win with Looks Like The Cat in the Caulfield Guineas and while it didn’t pan out, trainer Tony Gollan is confident he will still breakthrough at the top level.

“What we’ve seen is only a drop in the ocean to the ability the horse has got and he is nowhere near his full potential yet,” Gollan said.

“I don’t know enough about the racing over there but I definitely felt there was a Group 1 in him in Australia and if you can win a Group 1 here you can win a Group 1 there.”

Gollan has trained Group 1 winners Spirit Of Boom and Temple Of Boom but said Looks Like The Cat was potentially the best horse he has put a saddle on.

The Husson gelding leaves Australia with only one win next to his name from seven starts but he has notched five Group placings already.

Looks Like The Cat (left) fights out the finish of the Danehill Stakes with Rich Enuff. P

Looks Like The Cat (left) fights out the finish of the Danehill Stakes with Rich Enuff. Picture: Colleen Petch

Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin



Racing community to rally for drought stricken families

If you’re not affected after reading this please click on the link a the bottom of the page…

As families in rural Queensland battle another crippling drought, one of the state’s best-known stud farms has rallied the racing industry to ensure Santa Claus doesn’t miss a visit to affected regions this Christmas.

Craiglea Stud’s Stan Johnston is driving the Adopt-A-Family-for-Christmas initiative, which encourages volunteers to assist families in drought-stricken regions by putting together a Christmas hamper and buying presents for family members to ensure they are able to celebrate Christmas.

“I was speaking to someone the other day who has a property with 2,000 head of cattle and they can’t even afford to pay their phone bill, that is how bad things have got for people out there,” Mr Johnston said.

“Last year we did a hay-drive for the children so they could feed their animals and I thought we’d get one truck load, but we ended up with 10,000 bales of hay and plenty of grain.

“Unfortunately this year it has gone even further and the hay isn’t going to help because things are so bad, so we decided to do the adopt-a-family to make sure the kids get to enjoy Christmas like the rest of us.”

Mr Johnston said the School of the Air had also been great supporters of the initiative, ensuring the donations get to those families who need it most, while race clubs had also come on board and would be collecting the donations.

“Racing people are generous people, we saw that last year with the hay drive. A lot of the people affected by this were once racing people themselves, so we are hoping to get plenty of support,” he said.

“Those who want to donate need to register to be matched with a family and then drop their hampers and presents to one of the participating race clubs.

“This isn’t about any one individual, this is about the industry coming to together to help people who really need it. After the hay drive, these kids continued to keep in touch with us and we want to help them out again.”

To register for the appeal, please email Once you have been matched with a family, donations can be left at the following race clubs:

  • Townsville
  • Cairns
  • Bowen
  • Rockhampton
  • Gold Coast
  • Brisbane Racing Club
  • Toowoomba
  • Sunshine Coast



Tim Bell adamant Sir Moments has promising future after Gold Coast romp

Tim Bell eases down Sir Moments after his impressive win. Picture: Regi Varghese

Tim Bell eases down Sir Moments after his impressive win. Picture: Regi Varghese Source: News Corp Australia


CONFIDENT jockey Tim Bell declared it “all over red rover at the top of the straight” as classy galloper Sir Moments became the star of the show at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

A cheeky Bell smiled and sat up on the gelding over the line as he blew away his rivals with disdain in the 1400m Open Handicap.

It confirmed a trip to Sydney for the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) next month.

Sir Moments has now won six from 12 starts, including the Queensland Guineas during the Winter Carnival this year. And there looks to be more on the way.

“He is such a good horse,” Bell said. “He began better than I anticipated today, and I found the fence and settled nicely.

“It was all over red rover at the top of the straight. He had his usual antics after he hit the lead, pricking his ears, but it was all over by then.”

Bell has had a slow start to the season but is now getting back to the form that resulted in him winning the Brisbane jockeys’ premiership last season.

Trainer Steve O’Dea refused to rush Sir Moments in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap this year and could reap the benefits in Sydney this summer.

“He took a little while to hit his top today carrying 59kg but he was really strong through the line and he probably wants a bit further,” O’Dea said.

Sir Moments locks in a trip to Sydney for the Group 2 Villiers Stakes next month. Picture

Sir Moments locks in a trip to Sydney for the Group 2 Villiers Stakes next month. Picture: Regi Varghese Source: News Corp Australia

“It was a funny race to read as there didn’t look to be a lot of speed on paper but they ended up running along OK.

Winning trainer Steve O'Dea. Picture: Regi Varghese

Winning trainer Steve O’Dea. Picture: Regi Varghese Source: News Corp Australia

“He showed he is versatile today, racing a little bit closer, and that is a big positive going forward.”

Trainer Rob Heathcote liked what he saw as Dream Of Slips fought on for a gritty win in the Benchmark 80 Handicap (1200m).

“I’ve earmarked him as a potential stakes horse later on and I think that is starting to come through,” Heathcote said.

“He had to fight today and it’s a quality that might take this horse a little bit further than just through his grades. This Gold Coast track is a little bit tricky and he coped with the bend.”

A midweek training trip over the jumps may have been the key to trainer Darlene Duryea getting Ongoing Venture back to his best in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1800m).

Ongoing Venture ($17) wasn’t the punters’ choice but Duryea was confident he had more ability than he had been showing recently.

“It’s been a while between drinks for him but he has got some bad barriers and got stuck back in the fields,” Duryea said.

“It has been taking him forever to let go in his races. I put him over the jumps during the week to give him something to think about.”


Timothy Bell after winning race seven on the Club 100 Metropolitan Race Day at the Gold C

Timothy Bell after winning race seven on the Club 100 Metropolitan Race Day at the Gold Coast. Picture: Regi Varghese

Story courtesy Ben Dorries  Courier Mail



‘Racing fatigue’ rubs out another Queensland race as officials concede state has been overwhelmed by meetings


Whiskey Allround (rails) with Timothy Bella aboard gets the nod for trainer Tony Gollan a

Whiskey Allround (rails) with Timothy Bell aboard gets the nod for trainer Tony Gollan at Doomben at the weekend. Picture: Liam Kidston Source: News Corp Australia


RACING Queensland boss Darren Condon concedes the industry may be suffering from “racing fatigue’’ after the cancellation of a $65,000 Saturday race which attracted just three nominations.

Officials had no option to scrap the 2200m Handicap scheduled for the Gold Coast meeting this Saturday with Black Ninja, Falklands and Volkhere the only nominations.

The Gold Coast card is the main meeting in southeast Queensland on Saturday with no meeting in Brisbane.

Officials have added an extra sprint race to Saturday’s program, but it is an extraordinary situation that they were forced into cancelling a race.

Recent prizemoney increases in Queensland should be enticing more trainers and owners to send their horses to race day.

Condon says officials thought on their feet by adding an extra race on Saturday and points to the fact the new race attracted 21 nominations.

But he admits the cancellation of the 2200m race is probably a sign the Queensland industry has been overwhelmed by meetings during recent months.

“We ran more race meetings that any other state in Australia over the Victorian spring carnival,’’ Condon said.

“On Melbourne Cup Day we ran 12 race meetings across Queensland while Victoria ran seven.

“There is probably a bit of fatigue among the (Queensland) horse racing population over that.

“We have to take some criticism that the programming may not have been right, but we are continuing to review everything we are doing.

“If we program less race meetings, that ultimately just means we are cancelling more races.

“If the product is not there for the races we have advertised, we will put other races on and see if those are more popular.’’

Port Macquarie trainer Marc Quinn had Falklands in the cancelled race and says it is “pretty frustrating’’ he is now forced to instead send his gelding around in an 1800m race on Saturday.

Quinn says there are few options for his horse, with Sydney’s middle-distance staying races being dominated by large nominations from the all-powerful Chris Waller stable.


The Kelly Schweida-trained Bingo Rose and Luke Tarrant combine to win on Saturday. Pictur

The Kelly Schweida-trained Bingo Rose and Luke Tarrant combine to win on Saturday. Picture: Liam Kidston

Story courtesy Ben Dorries

The Official 2014 Melbourne Cup In-Depth Preview + Tips

Courtesy of Mitch Fenton  @mitchfenton88

1.ADMIRE RATKI (JAPAN). T.Umeda Z.Purton (8) 58.5


Caulfield Cup winner, who was so impressive that day.

He carried 58kg and was wide from the outset, but was able to circle the entire field and won fairly easily on the line.

As I said before that run all his best form in Japan was over 3000m + and I think the Caulfield Cup win was on class alone. His best win in Japan, the Diamond Stakes, was over 3400m, so the 2 miles is of no concern here. That’s always a massive bonus coming into a Melbourne Cup as there’s always so many contenders with a “will they, won’t they” hanging over their head when it comes to the question of running a strong 2 miles out.

Has to defy history, handicap wise, carrying 58.5kg but he’s right up to it and is the horse to beat. The last horse to win with the weight was Bart’s great stayer THINK BIG.

He won his 2nd successive Melbourne Cup that day, which puts him in elite company as a dual Melbourne Cup winner – but as with all handicap races, weights are relative! In those day days there was 15kg + between the top and bottom weights. Admire Ratki concedes the bottom weight this year 7.5kg, which without doubt is a decent weight, but he has the class to overcome it. AMERICAIN carried 58kg when 4th in the 2012, slaughtered that day by G.Mosse. It’s a big impost, but he’s good enough to overcome it!

2.CAVALRYMAN (GB). S.B.Suroor C.Williams (3) 57


Ran 12th in this race 2 years back carrying on 54kg that day.

Has been in good form, in preparation for another Melbourne Cup tilt, winning the Gr2 2400m Prince of Wales Stakes and Gr2 3200m Goodwood Cup1 before finishing 4th at his latest outing.

2nd in this year’s 2mile Gold Cup at Meydan on World Cup night, but this is tougher…

Honest type, but doubt he’s up to this.

3.FAWKNER (AUS). R.Hickmott N.Hall (9) 57


Narrowly defeated in the Cox Plate last week.

In terrific form this prep, all class!! Looks like 2 miles this time around will suit perfectly, as opposed to 12 months ago when he looked like he peaked in the Caulfield Cup for mine.

Definite winning hope. Australia’s great hope, stable knows how to win the race!

4.RED CADEAUX (GB). E.Dunlop G.Mosse (15) 57


Old marvel that has twice finished runner up in the race, both times having his first Australian run for the campaign. In 2011, when beaten a nose by Dunaden, he went down as the races narrowest loser in 150+ years of the great race.

Follows the same path this time around, first up into the Cup.

Form hasn’t been crash hot heading into the race this time around, but hard to write him off as hopeless!

5.PROTECTIONIST (GER). A.Wohler R.Moore (11) 56.5


Slashing run in the Herbert Power finishing powerful 4th running home well, 2nd in that race was Saturday’s Lexus winner Signoff. Meets him half a kg better for being beaten half a length. Proven 3000m winner – in the always reliable form race, France’s Prix Kergorlay in August. Will get a good run in transit from a favourable middle barrier draw, and be running on right into the finish at the business end.

6.SEA MOON (GB). R.Hickmott T.Berry (18) 56.5


Hopelessly out of form. Don’t give him any chance.

7.SEISMOS (IRE). M.Botti C.Newitt (1) 56


Got a perfect run in transit in the Caulfield Cup where I rated him a genuine hope of winning. Maybe the ground was too firm? He whacked away all the way and was only beaten 5L in the end but just didn’t have a turn of foot. Can see him improving getting out to the 2 mile journey, but not enough so to win. That would prove a shock!

8.JUNOOB (GB). C.Waller H.Bowman (7) 55.5


Had a very good run in the Caulfield Cup, plenty of the chances in this just dashed straight past him though…Can’t see him reversing the tables on them all!

9.ROYAL DIAMOND (IRE). J.Murtagh S.Arnold (6) 55.5


Will stay all day, that’s the only given with him! Impossible to recommend out of his most recent efforts in Ireland.

10.GATEWOOD (GB). J.Gosden W.Buick (22) 55


Group 3 winner in the UK and that’s about his level. However Gr3 stayers over there have proven that they can measure up to our elite. That said there’s better suited raiders than this one.

11.MUTUAL REGARD (IRE). J.Murtagh D.Oliver (12) 55


A one paced staying type, who comes here off the back of an Ebor win at York. Doubt that form stacks up well enough, but does have D.Oliver onboard. Some rough hope I guess….$13 is way ‘unders’ though for mine.

12.WHOSHOT THEBARMAN (NZ). C.Waller G.Boss (13) 55

112 bar

Outclassed in the Caulfield Cup. Can’t see much changing out to 3200m at Flemington.

13.WILLING FOE (USA). S.B.Suroor J.McDonald (17) 55

113 willing

Lightly raced stayer who has no doubt been set to win this race, the one major on the world racing programme that has so far eluded the powerful Godolphin barn.

Unusual to see Godolphin horses travel out here and not show something, not for me though.

14.MY AMBIVALENT (IRE). R.Varian A.Atzeni (4) 54.5

114 ambi

5 year old mare, WHO CANNOT BE IGNORED!

Has 3rd’s behind Gentildonna and Cirrus Des Aigles already in 2104 over 2400m, who are undoubtedly two of the world’s very best staying horses.

Untried beyond 2400m, but of EVERY horse in the race she arrives he with the best form out of her races. Is well weighted, will roll forward from an inside draw and take a tonne of catching if she can stay the trip!

Definite each way hope at big odds.

THE SMOKEY, that’s snuck under the radar in this years Cup!

15.PRECEDENCE (NZ). B. & J.Cummings M.Rodd (20) 54.5

115 pre

Long time since one of Bart’s has had less of a chance.

16.BRAMBLES (NZ). P.G.Moody L.Nolen (21) 54

116 bram

Will stay on all day and has been racing like the 3200m is his go. Just lacks class against the quality opposition.

17.MR O’CEIRIN (NZ). C.Maher C.Schofield (19) 54

117 cerin

Beaten in the Caloundra Cup in June, and latest start the Cranbourne Cup. Good for the owners and trainers to have a runner but is making up the 24 only.

18.AU REVOIR (IRE). A.Fabre G.Schofield (23) 53.5

118 au

Fancied his chances in the Moonee Valley Cup where he led and was run down by by Prince of Penzance and Le Roi to finish in third. Probably needed the run to top him of for the race, but would need to make a marked improvement from that effort to be winning here. France’s champion trainer Andre Fabre scares me though, he’s the JB Cummings of the northern hemisphere!

19.LIDARI (FR). P.G.Moody B.Melham (10) 53.5

119 lid

Outclassed. Query him at 2 mile.

20.OPINION (IRE). C.Waller T.Angland (14) 53.5



21.ARALDO (GB). M.Moroney D.Dunn (24) 53


Rough 1st 4 hope given the way he ran on in the Caulfield Cup.

22.LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ). K.Lees K.McEvoy (2) 53

122 lucy

Terrific run again in the Caulfield Cup. Every bit equal to winner Admire Ratki, the difference between the pair is we know the Japanese horse gets the trip….will this mare? If she does she’s a definite winning hope. I personally prefer other, although I’ve underrated her the whole way along!

23.UNCHAIN MY HEART (AUS). D.Hayes & T.Dabernig D.Yendall (5) 51

123 unchain

Well and truly outclassed. Good luck to connections for having a Cup starter that’s an Aussie bred!

24.SIGNOFF (IRE). D.Weir J.Moreira (16) 51

124 signoff

Terrific win in the Lexus on Saturday. Totally dominant of the back of a great run in transit. Sneaks in with just 51kg, meaning he’ll benefit 7.5kg off the favourite and top weight. Magic Moreira rides, has always looked to me like the further he runs in trip the better he’ll go, so can’t knock him at the 2 mile.

Go well, big hope of repeating Shocking’s efforts when he completed the double!








  •  1 + 24 STRAIGHT OUT
  • 14 EACH WAY!





Melbourne Cup 2014: Rob Waterhouse says first up raiders are kidding themselves

Bookmaker Rob Waterhouse.

Bookmaker Rob Waterhouse. Source: News Limited


TELL ‘em they’re dreamin.’

Bookmaking kingpin Rob Waterhouse says Melbourne Cup international invaders who haven’t raced in Australia this Spring are making up the numbers tomorrow.

Irish champion Vintage Crop in 1993 remains the only northern hemisphere-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup in their first start on Australian soil.

There have since been 73 overseas horses try to pinch the Cup first-up Down Under but all have gone home from their hit-and-run mission with their tail between their legs.

There are 11 internationals in tomorrow’s Cup and for seven of them (Gatewood, Royal Diamond, Mutual Regard, Willing Foe, My Ambivalent, Cavalryman and Red Cadeaux) it will be their first start in Australia this Spring.

“There are so many horses since Vintage Crop who have lined up in the Cup without first having a start in Australia and not one of them has won yet,’’ Waterhouse told The Courier-Mail.

“It is their loss. History shows it is a very, very hard to do what they are trying to do.”

Waterhouse, whose wife Gai won last year’s Cup with Fiorente, is tipping Fawkner ($11) as the horse to beat tomorrow.

Gatewood works at Werribee.

Gatewood works at Werribee. Source: Getty Images


A noted Cup form student, Waterhouse says having such a big international contingent makes it tougher to find the Cup winner than it was a decade ago.

But he insists having a United Nations of horses makes the Cup a stronger and more interesting race.

And he won’t hear of suggestions that international raiders should be forced to have an Australian start before running in the Cup.

“I am a free market thinker and I think that is outrageous,’’ Waterhouse said.


“I actually relish having all these international horses in the Cup and I think it makes it much more interesting.

“It has meant things have changed from a race that most people were mildly interested in, to being the huge race it is today.

“But it is far more complex doing the form. Once there were only two or three feeder races for the Melbourne Cup but now they come from everywhere.”

Bookmaker, punter and owner Michael Sullivan is another big fan of the internationalisation of the Cup.

The form lines might be harder to decipher but Sullivan says modern technology means punters have no excuses.

Mutual Regard during a trackwork session at Werribee.

Mutual Regard during a trackwork session at Werribee. Source: Getty Images


“In 2014 there are so many ways to view form and video that if you really want to see a horse and what it has done, there are 100 ways to do it,’’ Sullivan says.

“I really believe the internationals are good for the race.

“The reality of Admire Ratki winning the Caulfield Cup was before that it ran fourth in the Japan Cup and that is a very strong form race.

“I also think that in the last 10 years the internationals have realised they can’t send B-graders down here.

“They now know you have to send a real horse over to win the Melbourne Cup.’’

Story courtesy




Trainer Natalie McCall with River Lad after he won the Stradbroke Handicap this year. Pic

Trainer Natalie McCall with River Lad after he won the Stradbroke Handicap this year. Picture: Mark Cranitch Source: News Corp Australia


BRISBANE will have its first $2 million race as part of a new-look and condensed Queensland Winter Racing Carnival next year.

Racing Queensland have lifted prizemoney for the Stradbroke to $2 million and all other Group 1 races will be run for a minimum of $500,000.

The Stradbroke will now sit alongside the Magic Millions 2YO Classic as the richest races run in Queensland and one of the top 10 most lucrative in Australia.

“This puts the Stradbroke behind only the ($2.5 million) TJ Smith as the richest sprint in the country,” Racing Queensland chairman Kevin Dixon said, before confirming the race will be run at Doomben next year if Eagle Farm is not ready for racing.

“But we have also lifted all other Group 1 races in Queensland to a minimum of $500,000, which puts us ahead of a number of Group 1 races run in both New South Wales and Victoria.

“Stakes races will also rise to a minimum $100,000 during the carnival as well.”

After consultation with all of the southeast Queensland clubs, Racing Queensland has locked in its 2015 dates, with the carnival set to kick off at the Gold Coast on April 25.

This meeting, spearheaded by the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes, will carry nine stakes races, including the Group 2 Victory Stakes, which has previously been held at Eagle Farm.

Doomben Cup Day has been abolished, with the Group 1 2020m feature switching to BTC Cup Day and receiving a price hike to $650,000.

The most controversial change will be the elevation of Toowoomba’s $150,000 Weetwood to a stand-alone Saturday, on May 2.

“By doing this, it gives us a two-week break between the important lead-up races run at the Gold Coast into the BTC Cup and Doomben Cup on May 9,” Dixon said.

“We have also strengthened the Toowoomba meeting by relocating the Listed Dalrello Stakes and the introduction of the $75,000 Toowoomba Guineas, to sit alongside the Weetwood and Cup.”

The changes have been submitted to the Australian Pattern Committee for approval.

Caloundra’s Cup meeting moves forward to May 16 and has been boosted by the addition of two Listed races previously run at Doomben, the Hampden (2YO) and Chief De Beers.

Damien Oliver returns to scale after River Lad’s victory in the Straddie. Picture: Tara C

Damien Oliver returns to scale after River Lad’s victory in the Straddie. Picture: Tara Croser Source: News Corp Australia

The Ipswich Cup and Tattersalls’ meeting stay in their current spot after the June 6 Stradbroke.

“This new look carnival caters for the entire southeast Queensland region and with the increased prizemoney on offer should prove irresistible to all of the top stables in Australia,” Racing Minister Steve Dickson said.

The new look carnival comes on the back of Evergreen Turf, who have done the new surfaces at Pakenham and Hawkesbury, winning the tender for the $10 million upgrade of Eagle Farm.

“The new racing surface is designed to ensure racing continues under extreme weather events. The improved cambering of the track will also significantly enhance its racing performance,” RQ Chief Executive Darren Condon said.

Prizemoney increases for both greyhound and harness features will be made within the next month.

Next year’s Stradbroke Handicap will have its prizemoney increased to $2 million. Picture

Next year’s Stradbroke Handicap will have its prizemoney increased to $2 million. Picture: Mark Cranitch Source: News Corp Australia


$2 million STRADBROKE

Doomben 10,000 to $750,000, Doomben Cup to $650,000, Queensland Derby, J.J. Atkins to $600,000. All other G1 races minimum $500,000

All Stakes races worth a minimum of $100,000.

Gold Coast, with nine stakes races, including the G2 Victory Stakes, kicks off the carnival on April 25.

Brisbane Racing Club reduces from five to four days of Group 1 racing

Toowoomba takes its place in the carnival on Saturday, May 2

Caloundra moves forward in the carnival to May 16

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby


Damian Browne takes Buffering for a trackwork sesssion. Picture: Peter Wallis Source: News Corp Australia


ROB Heathcote says he can understand why wagering operators are making fistfuls of money when he takes a look at the market for Friday night’s Group 1 Manikato Stakes.

Buffering attempts a fifth Group 1 win in a return bout with Lankan Rupee on Friday, but the pair are being upstaged in pre-post betting by Chautauqua ($3.70 favourite with TattsBet) and Terravista ($4), who will be ridden by Nash Rawiller if Hugh Bowman fails in his appeal on Tuesday.

Hawkes Racing is yet to commit to a start for Chautauqua, with a decision said to be coming Tuesday morning.

Even so, Heathcote finds it baffling that a score on the board doesn’t count for much.

“You’ve got Lankan Rupee, who was the highest rated sprinter in the world just a few weeks ago and Buffering, who has won four Group 1 races, playing second fiddle to the two up and comers,” he said.

“Terravista has been impressive, but he’s never taken on anything like what he’s going to face on Friday night. And it’s a similar story with Chautauqua. They’re both promising, but are they entitled to be ahead of the other two in the market? No wonder bookies are rich.”


Buffering after a trackwork session at Altona Beach. Picture: Getty Images

Buffering after a trackwork session at Altona Beach. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Returning to the race in which he broke his Group 1 duck in last year, Buffering is still at the top of his game according to the trainer.

“I’m going there with a level of confidence as high as I’ve had in two years,” Heathcote said.

“He’s as good as he can be. I’m looking forward to it.”

Mick Price galloped Lankan Rupee at home on Saturday and will not take him to Moonee Valley on Tuesday.

Price believes the triple Group 1 winner is over the foot issue which kept him out of last week’s Schillaci Stakes.

Other Manikato runners include Tony Gollan’s Temple Of Boom, Moment Of Change, Rebel Dane, Platelet, Famous Seamus, Bounding, Angelic Light and Not Listenin’tome.


Now retired Spirit Of Boom (outside) with fellow Queenslanders Temple Of Boom (middle) an

Now retired Spirit Of Boom (outside) with fellow Queenslanders Temple Of Boom (middle) and Buffering, who will clash on Friday night. Picture: Jono Searle

Story courtesy

While happy with Rocket To Glory, Gollan is not discounting the chances of The Storeman who will again be ridden by Brisbane’s premier rider Tim Bell.

“He has been a run behind Rocket To Glory all campaign but I think he is at his best now,” Gollan said.

Gollan also has Gundy Son in the race for which the Helen Page-trained Rudy is favourite.

Kiaarn Holland with Looks Like The Cat after riding him at a trackwork session at Fleming

Kiaarn Holland with Looks Like The Cat after riding him at a trackwork session at Flemington last month. Picture: Getty Images


LOOKS Like The Cat’s owners have knocked back “multiple” offers in excess of $1 million to sell the star gelding to Hong Kong before this Saturday’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).  

Part-owner Troy Schmidt, who raised Looks Like The Cat on his River Junction farm near Gympie, gave a rare insight on Sunday into the extraordinary interest in the young Queensland star.

Kiaarn Holland and Looks Like The Cat. Picture: Getty Images

Kiaarn Holland and Looks Like The Cat. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images


Looks Like The Cat is one of the main fancies in the Caulfield Guineas but his owners have knocked back several lucrative offers just to get to the race.

“We’ve had multiple offers in excess of $1 million in recent weeks,” Schmidt revealed.

“It’s very tempting … but they don’t want to race him down there and he would be gone (to Hong Kong) immediately.”

The $1 million-plus offers are a far cry to what Looks Like The Cat was set to be sold for the day before his debut win at Eagle Farm in February.

“We sold him for $175,000 but the (Hong Kong) buyer failed to settle it before race day,” Schmidt said.

“The offer tripled after the win but we just decided to put him in the paddock and have a crack at the winter carnival.”

Overseas offers have poured in as Looks Like The Cat’s profile has grown but Schmidt has stood his ground.

The 40-year-old also has shares in Group 1-winning siblings Temple Of Boom and the recently retired Spirit Of Boom, but this is different.

After buying Looks Like The Cat for $60,000 as a weanling in May 2012, Schmidt bought his mother Fiery Dee for $10,000 at a Patinack Farm broodmare sale months later and said this was just as much about her as well.

“It’s about the big picture, the farm, Queensland racing, ourselves obviously and the mare,” Schmidt said.

Troy Schmidt's daughters Hayley Schmidt (left) and Jessica Schmidt (right) with Fiery Dee

Troy Schmidt’s daughters Hayley Schmidt (left) and Jessica Schmidt (right) with Fiery Dee and her current foal, which is a full sister to Looks Like The Cat. Source: Supplied


“I raced Looks Like The Cat’s half-sister Murtle Miss with Tony Gollan and she went really good so I bought Looks Like The Cat as a weanling and then Fiery Dee.

“We’ve now got a full sister to Looks Like The Cat on the ground and the mare was covered by Snitzel last week.”

Schmidt insists selling Looks Like The Cat is “not an option for now”.

The horse is rated a $5.50 Caulfield Guineas chance after finishing second to Rich Enuff in the Prelude a fortnight ago and Schmidt is upbeat his charge can turn the tables this weekend in the Caulfield Guineas.

Looks Like The Cat enjoys a roll in the sand. Picture: Getty Images

Looks Like The Cat enjoys a roll in the sand. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images


“Rich Enuff is a very good horse and potentially he might be a freak and he might be unbeatable but we will certainly give it our best shot on Saturday,” he said.

“We certainly haven’t seen the best of Looks Like The Cat and hopefully he is still on his merry way forward.

“We will roll the dice in the Cox Plate if we think the horse will measure up but it will be one step at a time.”

Troy Schmidt (middle) at Doomben trackwork this year with Steve Jones and Joe Heather. Pi

Troy Schmidt (middle) at Doomben trackwork this year with Steve Jones and Joe Heather. Picture: Mark Calleja

Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin



Gollan breathing easy with Temple Of Boom

Star Brisbane sprinter Temple of Boom has been treated for a respiratory problem but will be fit to continue his spring campaign.

Trainer Tony Gollan said he had been mystified by Temple of Boom’s below average performance when fifth in the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

He had the horse inspected on Saturday night and Temple of Boom was found to be suffering from a grade two mucous infection.

“It is a relief in a way because I was worried about his performance,” Gollan said.

“It was way below what we know he can do. To find out quickly and treat it is a big relief.”

Gollan said Temple of Boom would be clear to run in the Group One Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley on October 24.

“I am sure you will see the real Temple of Boom in that race,” he said.

Gollan flew home to Brisbane from Melbourne on Sunday morning to sort out the future campaigns of some of his other horses.

He said Saturday’s Gold Coast winner Hijack Hussy would probably go to Melbourne for fillies and mares races.

“Her owner Joe O’Neill is keen for her to go and to get some black type with her,” Gollan said.

Hijack Hussy recorded a scintillating win when she stormed home from near the tail of the field to win a 1400m open three-year-old race.

Gollan said he wanted to assess Hi Son before committing him to another battle with arch rival Volkhere in a fortnight over 2000m at Doomben.

“Volkhere just outstayed him on Saturday over 2200 metres and I have to decide whether he can beat him at the 2000 metres,” he said.

“I think he is a 1600 to 2000 metre horse more than a stayer.”

Hi Son and Volkhere have fought out five races between 2000 and 2200m this season with the score now 3-2 to Volkhere.

Story courtesy




Frequendly gives Queensland trainer Les Ross something to smile about despite short quote 

Jockey Brad Stewart guides Frequendly to victory. Picture: Jono Searle.

Jockey Brad Stewart guides Frequendly to victory. Picture: Jono Searle. Source: News Corp Australia


LES Ross vowed not to trial any more of his untried two-year-olds this season after Frequendly lived up to expectations in winning comfortably at the Gold Coast.

Always in the red, Frequendly mustered speed quickly and never gave her backers any cause for concern, clocking a slick 51.43 sec (home in 33.22) for the 900m.

By contrast, Wicked Intent went 52.1 sec (33.71) in winning the colts and geldings division.

All week, Ross had tried to hose down the boom on the daughter of Sequalo, but punters were having none of that and backed her into an odds-on quote after $3.50 had been bet — briefly — in some places earlier in the week.

Frequendly had come under the notice of punters after winning a barrier trial comfortably last month, beating last week’s Toowoomba winner Syn City.

“I’ve got 10 other two-year-olds at home and none of them will be trialling,” Ross said.

“What’s the point? I get up at 2.40am every morning and someone else gets $3.50 and we have to put up with $1.80.”

Trialling unraced two-year-olds is one of the big talking points in Australian racing at the moment.

In Sydney, all horses have to trial, but not so in Victoria or Queensland.

Either way, Ross has a very promising filly to console himself with.

Frequendly, who was passed in at the sales, is being set for the Magic Millions in January, which will determine her autumn path.

“Unfortunately I missed the nomination for the Golden Slipper, so she has to win the Magic Millions to pay for the late entry fee into the Slipper,” Ross said.

“I always knew she was good. We jumped her out one day and she ran similar time to what Buffering did.”

Winning rider Brad Stewart, who also partnered Wicked Intent, said it was almost an armchair ride, but for a scare at the start.

“She jumped a bit awkward and I nearly came out of the saddle,” Stewart said.

Wicked Intent is also on his way to the Magic Millions.

The Barry Mitchell-trained colt had not trialled publicly, but insiders were quick out of the blocks when Sportsbet put up $11 on Thursday.

He justified the early move when getting the better of easing favourite Redsson midway up the straight before going on to win by more than two lengths.

Story courtesy  Nathan Exelby Courier Mail




Time to Plunder on trial for Melbourne

Handy sprinter Time To Plunder will have to improve sharply at the Gold Coast if he is to join trainer Liam Birchley’s annual raid on the Melbourne carnival.

Time to Plunder will be having his third start this campaign in Saturday’s Broadbeach Junior AFL Open (1200m).

Birchley’s regular spring forays have reaped wins in Melbourne in recent years with horses such as Missy Longstocking, Liesele, Emmalene and Whateverwhenever.

He is putting together this year’s Melbourne team and had Time To Plunder pencilled in for the greys’ race at Flemington.

“He will want to improve a bit on his last start or it would be a waste of time taking him,” Birchley said about Time To Plunder’s last of nine in an open handicap at Doomben.

“He was a bit slow to go but he didn’t do much after that.”

Birchley also hopes to take Gun Case south after the horse’s recovery from an injury discovered after his first loss at Doomben last month.

“He has had a week on the water walker and a couple of weeks in the paddock,” Birchley said.

“We will jump him out or trial him next week and if he is OK he will probably go south.”

Birchley is also looking to take two-year-old Syn City to Melbourne for an Inglis sale graduate race at Moonee Valley on October 25.

Syn City won the first Queensland juvenile race of the season at Toowoomba last week.

Meanwhile, bookmakers have installed the Les Ross trained Frequendly as favourite for the first metropolitan fillies two-year-old race of the season at the Gold Coast.

By Sequalo who died last month, Frequendly beat Syn City easily in an Eagle Farm barrier trial last month.

Story courtesy




Kelly primed for two-state training double

Gold Coast trainer David Kelly hopes top jockey Craig Newitt proves a good judge in two states on Saturday.

Kelly has smart sprinter Final Crescendo in the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington and Aldini in the Broadbeach Junior AFL Handicap at the Gold Coast.

Newitt chose Final Crescendo ahead of other mounts as his Gilgai ride and he also praised Aldini after winning on him during the winter carnival.

Final Crescendo earned a trip south after winning at Doomben two weeks ago and has pleased Kelly since arriving in Melbourne.

Kelly said it was also an advantage to have a top rider such as Newitt on Final Crescendo.

“Craig rode for me during the winter and won on Aldini. After that win he told me to put Aldini away and bring him back for the Melbourne spring,” Kelly said.

“There are plenty of races around the 1400-metre range for Aldini in Melbourne. So provided he races well on Saturday we will put him on a plane for Melbourne.”

Kelly had also entered Final Crescendo for the Gold Coast on Saturday but it was only a precaution in case of flight difficulties.

Aldini will be having his first start since winning the Listed Spear Chief Stakes at Eagle Farm on May 31.

However, he trialled at the Gold Coast on September 9 and wasn’t knocked about when finishing fifth.

“It was a handy trial and he has won first and second up,” Kelly said.

Michael Cahill, who won on Final Crescendo at Doomben, will ride Aldini on Saturday.

Story courtesy



Steel Zip in sentimental journey for Duff

Trainer Pat Duff hopes veteran galloper Steel Zip will take the first step towards honouring one of his wife Dinah’s last wishes in the Broadbeach Junior AFL Handicap at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Steel Zip was the last horse raced by Dinah Duff who died two years ago after a long battle with cancer.

She was a respected horsewoman and owned many smart gallopers.

Steel Zip was one of her favourites and the grey is still raced by Pat Duff and his children.

He has been a great money-spinner for the family, winning seven races and $539,000 in stakes, a fine return on his $13,000 sale price.

Duff hasn’t been to Melbourne since taking the flying Star Of Florida in 2002.

“Star of Florida ran records in Sydney but he went terribly Melbourne and we also took Handsome Prince (who won 21 races) to Melbourne and he broke down,” Duff said.

Duff has a special reason for wanting to take Steel Zip to Melbourne for the greys’ race at Flemington next month.

“Funny thing, Dinah loved us taking horses to Sydney but she was never fussed on Melbourne. Maybe it was because we had so much bad luck there,” Duff said.

“But one of the last things she asked me to do was take Steel Zip to Melbourne for their greys’ races.”

Now a seven-year-old, Steel Zip hasn’t raced since running third in the Listed Ascot Handicap at Eagle Farm on July 5.

However, he has had two trials and improved lengths in the latter when winning at Deagon over 800m on September 23.

“He is coming along nicely and the second trial was handy. We don’t do much with him except the beach these days,” Duff said.

“It would be a lovely tribute to Dinah if we could get to Melbourne.”

Story courtesy



Tony Gollan admits Looks Like The Cat has difficult task but extra Caulfield Guineas distance will help 

Rich Enuff beats home Looks Like the Cat (left) again, this time in the Caulfield Guineas

Rich Enuff beats home Looks Like the Cat (left) again, this time in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images


TONY Gollan says Rich Enuff can be beaten in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas but admitted he was in awe of the rising superstar in the Guineas Prelude.

Gollan’s striking three-year-old Looks Like The Cat started favourite in Sunday’s Guineas Prelude at Caulfield but was left in the wake of Rich Enuff who scorched the turf and coasted to a two-and-a-half length win.

Looks Like The Cat after a recent trackwork session.

Looks Like The Cat after a recent trackwork session. Source: Getty Images


Looks Like The Cat has now run successive seconds behind Rich Enuff in Melbourne but Gollan insists the extra 200m of the 1600m Guineas will work in favour of his horse.

However Gollan concedes Rich Enuff is something special and it will take something just as special to beat him.

Rich Enuff is the $3.50 favourite for the Guineas on October 11 with Almalad at $4.20 and Looks Like The Cat on the third line of betting at $5.

Gollan has huge respect for Rich Enuff but is not hoisting the white flag.

“Put it this way, from what I saw on Sunday I am very glad there is an extra 200m in the Guineas,” Gollan said.

“Rich Enuff is a very, very good horse.

“But they are all beatable. You will get a different sort of race in the Guineas with different horses and three different form lines all converging.

“You have got the Stutt Stakes from Moonee Valley last Friday night with Almalad, you have got the Sydney three-year-olds coming through like Shooting To Win and then you have got the horses that have come through the Guineas Prelude.

“Rich Enuff will be up on speed again and Almalad will be the first horse challenging him to make it a tough mile and my horse hopefully will get a nice run through the field.”

Looks Like The Cat enjoys a roll in the sand. Picture: Getty Images

Looks Like The Cat enjoys a roll in the sand. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images


Looks Like The Cat, named for his striking white blaze and resemblance to former cult hero horse Apache Cat, had a stack of market support in the Guineas Prelude.

But Gollan confesses he didn’t share a similar level of confidence going into Looks Like The Cat’s first run around the unique Caulfield track.

“I thought the prelude was going to be his trickiest race in Melbourne, it was his first go around Caulfield when the horse is getting ready for the mile,” Gollan said.

Looks Like The Cat with his handler Kiaarn Holland at Flemington. Picture: Michael Klein

Looks Like The Cat with his handler Kiaarn Holland at Flemington. Picture: Michael Klein Source: News Corp Australia


“It was a race we were wanting to be competitive in but I was never as confident as what the market suggested that I should have been.

“It was also a bit of a bizarre day with those strong winds. Running into those winds affects horses all differently.

“Rich Enuff handled it quite well and he quickened and put paid to that field including my horse very easily.”

Filly Traveston Girl has not fired with two fourth placings in Melbourne and has now drifted to $26 in the market for the Thousand Guineas.

However Gollan was satisfied with her effort on the weekend and feels she is building nicely.

“She struggled in that headwind on the weekend and she didn’t really want to charge into it,” he said.

“But I thought her run was good heading to the mile. I’m not saying she is a good thing or anything in the Thousand Guineas but she is a realistic chance.”

Story courtesy Ben Dorries  Courier Mail



Lady Echelon confirms Melbourne spring campaign

Improving mare Lady Echelon showed she won’t be out of place in the Melbourne spring carnival after her first-up win at Doomben on Saturday.

Lady Echelon will join stable star River Lad on the float for Melbourne on Tuesday with her first mission the Ladies Day Vase (1600m) at Caulfield on October 15.

Before the race, trainer Natalie McCall had warned Lady Echelon would not be travelling unless she performed on Saturday.

However, she had no worries when Lady Echelon ($4.60) scored by head to Harada Bay ($3.80) in the Business Success Group Handicap (1350m).

McCall said after Ladies Day Vase, Lady Echelon would tackle Group Three or Listed races during the carnival.

“I think she is up to that grade but I would like to think we have the grey series at Flemington as a fall back if she doesn’t measure up to them,” he said.

“Then again she might get too much weight in those races after this win.”

Lady Echelon is a noted wet tracker and McCall admitted she wouldn’t mind some rain in Melbourne in the next few weeks.

River Lad, who won the Group One Stradbroke Handicap in June, will have his first Melbourne start in the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

Meanwhile, trainer Gillian Heinrich confirmed she wouldn’t be rushing her promising mare Shiraz Attack after her barnstorming first-up win in the Brisbane Produce Handicap (1200m).

Shiraz Attack was having her first start since being well beaten in the Gunsynd Classic at Eagle Farm in April.

“I made a mistake in rushing her back after the Millions carnival for the winter carnival. It wasn’t fair to her and we won’t be making that mistake again,” Heinrich said.

Former Sydney galloper Our Boy Nicholas ($3.10) made it four wins from five starts since arriving in Queensland when he won the FOC Construction and Fitout Qld Handicap (1600m).

Story courtesy



Harada Bay team forced to make race switch

Promising galloper Harada Bay may have his campaign redirected to Sydney if suitable open-class races in Brisbane continue to fall away.

The Meagher training combination of John Meagher and his sons Chris and Dan had originally planned to run Harada Bay in a 1600-metre race at Doomben on Saturday.

However, that race was scrapped when the required six acceptors could not be reached.

It meant the Meaghers had to switch Harada Bay back to the Good Business Handicap (1350m).

Chris Meagher said it wasn’t the best option for Harada Bay who had run second at his last start over 1600m behind class miler Epic.

“We couldn’t just let him sit at home because it would have then been three weeks between runs. He needs to run and we have freshened him up to tackle this shorter race,” Meagher said.

“Hopefully, the pace will be on and he can run home strongly.”

Meagher said Harada Bay’s long-term aim was the Magic Millions carnival in January.

“We are looking at the Magic Millions 1400-metre race with him. We think he is up to that class,” he said.

In the short term, Meagher is hoping the Brisbane open-class races can stand up.

“Otherwise we will have to sneak down to Sydney. It won’t be for anything too flash but there are some lesser races down there which might suit,” he said.

Harada Bay has been done no favours at the weights as he is yet to win in open company but has 57.5kg.

“We didn’t really consider claiming on him as he has a few tricks and isn’t a kid’s horse,” Meagher said. Robbie (jockey Robbie Fradd) has ridden him work and we felt he was the way to go.”

One thing in Harada Bay’s favour is the Doomben 1350m where he has excelled.

Harada Bay has had three tries over the course for two wins and a close third behind class gallopers Jetset Lad and Saluter.

Meanwhile, Fradd, a vastly experienced international jockey now settled in Queensland, continues to cement his client base.

He has ridden 11 winners since arriving in Queensland last month and he has six rides at Doomben on Saturday.

Story courtesy



Flighty Hazard Bay cleared for Doomben

Immature Hazard Bay has passed a stewards’ test and connections are confident the gelding will be on his best behaviour at Doomben on Saturday.

Hazard Bay has tossed his jockeys on the way to the barriers at both of his racetrack appearances.

At his first start at Caloundra he dislodged jockey Brad Stewart who remounted and steered Hazard Bay to a three-length win.

Then at Doomben last Saturday, Hazard Bay tossed jockey Glen Colless near the winning post on the way to the starting stalls.

Hazard Bay stood on Colless’s face and was a late scratching.

Colless underwent facial surgery and will miss at least a month’s racing.

Stewards barred Hazard Bay but he came through a barrier test on Tuesday without incident.

Owner Neville Bell said Hazard Bay got stirred up on race days and trainer Stuart Kendrick would ask the clerk of the course to take the gelding to the start on a lead before the BMAG Handicap (1050m).

“Obviously our main worry has been Glen and that he got the treatment he required. But I am confident Hazard Bay won’t cause any problems this Saturday,” Bell said.

Meanwhile, trainer Toby Edmonds has warned punters to ignore smart galloper Our Boy Nicholas’s last start when he was unplaced at odds-on.

“He couldn’t possibly have won the way the race was run at a crawl early. There should be more pace on Saturday and I expect him to improve,” Edmonds said.

Our Boy Nicholas will be out to make it four wins from six starts since a spell in the FDC Constructions & Fitout Qld Handicap (1600m).

Story courtesy



Queensland’s big guns Buffering and Damian Browne out to prove the doubters wrong again 

Damian Browne aboard Queensland’s favourite son, Buffering. Picture: Peter Wallis

Damian Browne aboard Queensland’s favourite son, Buffering. Picture: Peter Wallis Source: News Corp Australia


ROB Heathcote says Buffering’s jockey Damian Browne has found extra motivation from the “embarrassing disgrace’’ of being snubbed for the Queensland Jockey of The Year award.

Buffering goes through his paces at Doomben. Picture: Darren England

Buffering goes through his paces at Doomben. Picture: Darren England Source: News Corp Australia


Heathcote’s immediate focus is preparing iron horse Buffering for a rematch with sprint sensation Lankan Rupee as the duo tangle in the Group 1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

However Heathcote remains flabbergasted, and angry, that Browne was overlooked for the honour of being Queensland’s top jockey at Racing Queensland’s recent awards night.

While Buffering won horse of the year for the third year running, the jockey award went to Brisbane premiership winner Tim Bell who won his first Group 1 on Tinto in the Queensland Oaks.

However Browne won three interstate Group 1s on Buffering and also the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond on Earthquake, in a season where he also won another 14 black-type races.

The award was voted on by a panel of 25 including racing officials and media.

“It was embarrassing (that Browne didn’t win the award) and a disgrace,’’ Heathcote said. “I know Damian feels slighted and hurt that his amazing feats of the last racing season were not recognised.

“He is looking forward to getting to Melbourne with Buffering and again proving any doubters wrong.’’

Buffering (left) finds himself in a dogfight with brothers Spirit Of Boom (outside) and T

Buffering (left) finds himself in a dogfight with brothers Spirit Of Boom (outside) and Temple Of Boom in the Doomben 10,000 this year. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia


Buffering was third to Lankan Rupee in their only meeting in the T.J. Smith in Sydney in April, where another Moir runner, Rebel Dane, was runner-up.

Heathcote feels Buffering is flying before his first-up Moir mission.

Ten nominations have been received for the Moir including Sweet Idea, Tiger Tees, Gregers and Angelic Light, who recently scored a shock win over Lankan Rupee.

TattsBet’s Gerard Daffy forecast Lankan Rupee would start about the $2 favourite with Buffering in a clump of horses around $5-$7 in betting markets.

“Bookies will be happy to take Lankan Rupee on because there is still that niggling doubt about him at Moonee Valley where he has had three starts for only one win,’’ Daffy said.

“I am not silly enough to be writing Buffering off in any race.’’

Buffering will have his final track gallop at Eagle Farm this morning before being loaded on a plane tonight for his Melbourne Spring campaign.

Heathcote feels his veteran sprinter is in terrific shape after never being at his top during the Sydney Autumn or Queensland Winter carnivals.

His only worry is if Buffering draws an inside barrier as he has been prone to missing the start slightly.

Story courtesy Ben Dorries



Pienkna must step up for Gollan

Trainer Tony Gollan is prepared to pull the pin on the Melbourne spring carnival campaign of classy filly Pienkna if he is not happy with her this week.

Pienkna won her first two starts in Brisbane before finishing eighth the Cap D’Antibes Handicap at Flemington on September 13.

She is entered for the Blue Sapphire Stakes at Caulfield on October 15 but will have to please Gollan this week to continue her mission. Gollan will fly to Melbourne on Monday night to supervise the next steps in the campaigns of his five-horse spring carnival team.

“The one I will be having a good look at is Pienkna. She was lost down the straight and ran a good race but I probably made a mistake by telling Tegan (jockey Harrison) to hold her up,” Gollan said.

“She was looking around and I would have been better off telling Tegan to just let her run. She is a very good filly but this is her first campaign and I don’t want to tax her.”

Gollan said if Pienkna pleased him in her work on Tuesday she would run at the Moonee Valley night meeting on Friday.

He will also finalise the campaigns for his other Melbourne visitors Looks Like The Cat, Temple of Boom, Alma’s Fury and Traveston Girl.

Meanwhile, former Victorian mare Zoomania will have to repeat her good performance at Doomben on Saturday to join her stablemates in the south.

Zoomania was an eye catching nose second in a 1350m fillies and mares race at her second start for Gollan.

“I will be keeping close tabs on Zoomania with a view to the mare heading south,” Gollan said.”

“She is a seven-year-old but like all of her sire Zabeel’s offspring she is getting better with age.”

Story courtesy



Racing Queensland website to offer punters free replays of races 

Epic clears out in the final event at Doomben on Saturday, giving apprentice Luke Tarrant a winning treble. Picture: Mark Cranitch. Source: News Corp Australia


LUKE Tarrant led his apprentice peers on another romp for the juniors at Doomben as he extended his early premiership lead on Saturday.

Apprentices won five of the eight races, with Tarrant responsible for three of them, including the final event on Epic.

The Rising Star winner said he is aware of the extra attention that comes with being a premiership frontrunner.

“I guess I feel the pressure a bit more because if I do ride one bad now there will be more of a commotion than there would have been previously,” he said.

“But I don’t think I’m doing anything differently. I haven’t slaughtered one for a while and I’m just concentrating on doing the things that have worked for me so far.”

Epic’s trainer Kelly Schweida is a huge fan of Luke Tarrant. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Epic’s trainer Kelly Schweida is a huge fan of Luke Tarrant. Picture: Mark Cranitch. Source: News Corp Australia


Epic’s trainer Kelly Schweida is unashamedly on the Tarrant bandwagon.

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders, listens and I’m a big rap for him,” Schweida said.

Toby Edmonds’ day didn’t pan out as expected, but he still walked away a winner.

Our Boy Nicholas never gave those that took the $1.65 a sight at any stage, but Scarborough later atoned for the stable in the Quest Breakfast Creek Handicap.

“(Our Boy Nicholas pulled up good. It’s back to the drawing board I guess,” Edmonds said.

Scarborough was given a perfect ride by apprentice Matthew McGuren.

Mounting yard observers felt the son of Snitzel looked to be carrying some excess condition, but Edmonds said it was always the case.

“He looks underdone all the time, but he’s tough and likes racing at the mile.”

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Courier Mail



Looks Like The Cat ready for Melbourne debut

Smart galloper Brisbane galloper Looks Like The Cat will race in blinkers for the first time when he takes on the cream of Melbourne’s three-year-olds in the Danehill Stakes on Saturday.

Looks Like The Cat will head a strong team for premier Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan who is planning a major assault on the Melbourne spring carnival.

Gollan has long held the belief Looks Like The Cat is one of the best three-year-olds in Australia and encouraged connections to knock back a mammoth offer from Hong Kong.

His opinion was proven correct during the Brisbane winter when Looks Like The Cat was placed in the Group One JJ Atkins Stakes and the Group Two BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes.

“Looks Like The Cat has done well in his break and travelled well to Melbourne,” Gollan said.

“But we have been thinking for a long while that he will be a blinkers horse.”

Gollan said his three-year-old fillies Pienkna and Traveston Girl were starting to settle in after being a bit lost after arriving in new surrounds.

“You would expect them to find it strange being away from home but they worked at Flemington on Tuesday and seem to be settling in a lot better,” he said.

Gollan said there were no such worries with old-timer Temple of Boom, who will contest the Bobbie Lewis Stakes on Saturday.

“I put Temple on the plane on Wednesday morning and he was just an old gentleman. One of the boys quipped he could have flown the plane he had done it so often,” Gollan said.

Gollan will use jockeys Tegan Harrison and Damian Browne during the carnival.

“Tegan has show she is a top-class jockey in Brisbane and Damian doesn’t need any introduction. He is one of the best Group One jockeys in Australia,” Gollan said.

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Harrison keen to start spring with a Boom

Brisbane rider Tegan Harrison will seek help from the very best in her profession before she tackles the Flemington straight-six course for the first time on Saturday.

Harrison will make her maiden Melbourne appearance as a senior jockey although she has had four rides at Moonee Valley as an apprentice.
The 23-year-old will have two rides for top Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan, Temple Of Boom in the Group Three Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and Pienkna in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m).
Harrison has been doing her homework for the Melbourne trip which she admits has her very excited.
“I have never ridden at Flemington but I have been there to have a look. I will be walking the track on Saturday morning to get a feel for it,” Harrison said.
“I plan to ask some of the experienced Melbourne jockeys about the way to ride the straight six.
“Everyone tells me the best (jockey) to seek advice from is Damien Oliver so I will be asking his opinion.”
Harrison believes Temple Of Boom gives her a great chance to make her mark at Flemington.
The pair enjoyed a successful winter when they combined to win the Group Two Victory Stakes and were placed in the Group One Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicap.
“He is such an honest horse and always tries. He is used to travelling and apparently he has gone well down there,” Harrison said.
“Pienkna is in her first preparation but she has been very strong in her two wins in Brisbane.
“I am really looking forward to the day as it is every jockey’s dream to ride at Flemington.”
Harrison, one of the best talents to come out of Queensland in the past decade, has ridden 274 winners and recently claimed the Queensland Apprentice of the Year

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Gold Coast Turf Club wins in Racing Queensland proposal to cut winter carnival from 14 weeks to nine
The $175,000 Victory Stakes would move from Eagle Farm to the Gold Coast under a new Raci

The $175,000 Victory Stakes would move from Eagle Farm to the Gold Coast under a new Racing Queensland shake-up of Winter Carnival season Picture: Darren England.



RACING Queensland is set to revolutionise its winter carnival next year by shaving five weeks of the state’s showcase racing event.

In a bid to “create a more compelling racing product’’, the Queensland winter carnival will be cut from 14 to nine weeks next year if the state’s major racing clubs accept an RQ proposal.

The winter carnival offic­ially started on April 12 this year at Toowoomba and finished at Eagle Farm on July 12 with a meeting that featured one Listed race.

The constant criticism of the carnival is it’s too long and RQ has listened. If its plan is agreed upon the winter carnival will run from April 25 to June 20 next year, trimming two low-key meetings at both the start and end of the carnival.

It is also proposed to remove the Doomben Cup day meeting from the calendar.

The Gold Coast Turf Club is set to pick up the $175,000 Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m), delivering the local club with a much-needed weight-for-age sprint that may attract some of Australia’s best sprinters.

RQ has sent out two proposals to the state’s major racing clubs detailing possible changes to next year’s carnival.

Major changes tabled in “Proposal 1’’ include:

■ The Queensland winter carnival to be reduced from 14 to nine weeks.

■ BTC Cup day at Doomben to officially start the carnival on April 25.

■ Doomben Cup day, held on May 17 this year, to be removed from the calendar. The Group 1 Doomben Cup to be run on the same day as the Group 1 BTC Cup on April 25, while other stakes races from the lost day will be spread out over the ­carnival.

■ The Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) to move from late June to Queensland Oaks day on May 30. However, the Tattersall’s Racing Club will fight to keep this race on its own race day on June 20.

■ The Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) to move from Eagle Farm to the Gold Coast.

■ Toowoomba’s feature meeting, Weetwood Handicap day, to move from early April to the second meeting of the winter carnival on May 2. The day meeting is set to include the Toowoomba Cup, which has been held in June in the past two years.

■ Sunshine Coast’s feature meeting, Caloundra Cup day, to move from late June to May 16, the fourth meeting of the carnival.

“Proposal 2” is similar but has the Gold Coast’s Prime Minister’s Cup day kicking off the carnival on April 25 instead of May 9 and BTC Cup day on May 9 instead of April 25.

It means the Gold Coast’s sole winter carnival meeting is likely to either move forward or back one week from its current timeslot.

The Toowoomba club is set to be the big winner if either proposal is accepted.

Unlike in recent years, the Weetwood Handicap day will now become an integral part of the winter carnival.

“That was the point of going back to the grass track so we can become part of the winter carnival properly,” Toowoomba Turf Club chairman Bob Frappell said, referring to the switch to turf from a cushion surface last season.

“We’re not sure which proposal they will accept but any of them will be a much better position than where we are.”

The Brisbane Racing Club would be the big loser, with Doomben Cup day and Victory Stakes day axed. The proposed changes are yet to approved by the RQ board.

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Trainer Noel Doyle has Thousand Guineas on radar for tough filly Aimee
 Aimee (Matthew McGuren) holds Lucky Tom (Rikki Jamieson) on the line at Doomben on Saturd

Aimee (Matthew McGuren) holds Lucky Tom (Rikki Jamieson) on the line at Doomben on Saturday. Picture: Andrew Seymour.


NOEL Doyle hopes to pick up where he left off in Melbourne this spring, despite a dozen years having passed since his last visit.

Doyle hasn’t taken a horse south since Palidamah won at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day in 2002.

That will change in the coming weeks after his tough filly Aimee ($4.60) added a fifth career win when making her seasonal debut at Doomben on Saturday.

Doyle is eyeing the Thousand Guineas, but isn’t certain whether her next lead up will be in Brisbane or south of the border.

“I’m very satisfied with what I saw,” Doyle said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been down to Melbourne, so it’s exciting to be lining up another trip.”

While Aimee got the breaks up near the rails, the race was a very messy affair with a number of hardluck stories.

Runner-up Lucky Tom ($4.80) was stuck wide facing the breeze throughout and his trainer Harold Norman confirmed a Melbourne trip is still firmly on the agenda.

Debutant Rockleigh ($41) turned in a real eye-catcher, charging at the line late for third. Upstart Pride ($4.20 favourite) found himself in a bumping duel, while Melanya kept coming despite a wide trip.

Combatant finished closer to the tail of the field than the front, but may well have tested the winner with clear running.



Teronado reels off impressive late figures

Trainer Bruce Hill has a southern trip planned for Teronado after his win at Doomben on S

Trainer Bruce Hill has a southern trip planned for Teronado after his win at Doomben on Saturday. Picture: Andrew Seymour.

BRUCE Hill wasn’t surprised by the sectional and Chris Munce said he was entitled to run that time given the “ridiculous” tempo, but both ticked off on a southern trip for Teronado.

With a walking tempo, Teronado circled the field and clocked home in an official final 600m sectional of 32.99 seconds.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Hill said. “He does that every day of the week. You think he’s not going very fast in his work and then you look at the clock and just shake your head.”

Hill said he has a multitude of options in Melbourne and hasn’t set a program in stone yet.

Munce feels Teronado will be a worthy Melbourne combatant, although he acknowledged it gets much tougher now.

“It was a ridiculous tempo because they trotted for the first 1300m, so they can run those type of sectionals when they do nothing early,” Munce said.

“But he will be competitive down there (Melbourne). He’s a different horse with blinkers on now. He’s more genuine and switched on.”

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Courier Mail

Tony Gollan satisfied he has necessary firepower to make presence felt during Melbourne spring carnival
Now-retired Spirit Of Boom claims Melbourne-bound pair Buffering (left) and Temple Of Boo

Now-retired Spirit Of Boom claims Melbourne-bound pair Buffering (left) and Temple Of Boom in this year’s Doomben 10,000. Picture: Jono Searle



TONY Gollan is upbeat he has the firepower necessary to strike some major blows in the next two months but will know for sure when all five of his spring contenders resume at Flemington on Saturday.

Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan. Picture: Jono Searle

Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan. Picture: Jono Searle


Stradbroke runner-up Temple Of Boom and Alma’s Fury will both return in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m), Looks Like The Cat will line up in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) and fillies Traveston Girl and Pienkna will battle it out in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m).

Brisbane trainer Gollan knows what to expect from his Group 1 winner Temple Of Boom but is more excited about seeing how the next generation — Pienkna, Looks Like The Cat and Traveston Girl — handle the pressure-cooker environment of the spring carnival.

“It’s a pretty exciting time particularly with the younger horses,” Gollan said.

“I feel I’ve got the right horses to take away and I wouldn’t take them away willy-nilly.”

Gollan has big aims for all five horses this spring.

Temple Of Boom (Manikato Stakes/ Darley Classic) and Alma’s Fury (Sir Rupert Clarke/Toorak Handicap) will go their separate ways, while three-year-olds Pienkna (Blue Sapphire), Looks Like The Cat (Caulfield Guineas) and Traveston Girl (Thousand Guineas) all have different goals as well.

And while six-year-old Alma’s Fury has failed to shape up to Group 1 racing in the past, Gollan is genuinely excited by his spring prospects.

Damian Browne prepares to work Looks Like The Cat at Eagle in Brisbane. Picture: Mark Cra

Damian Browne prepares to work Looks Like The Cat at Eagle in Brisbane. Picture: Mark Cranitch


“It’s his second prep with me now and I feel I’ve got a far better understanding of him now,” Gollan said.

“He is going really well and whether he measures up to Group 1 level in the handicaps I’m not sure but his two wins back-to-back in the winter have given this horse a huge confidence boost.”

Tony Gollan has Temple Of Boom and Alma’s Fury both entered in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Q

Tony Gollan has Temple Of Boom and Alma’s Fury both entered in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality on Saturday.

As for Temple Of Boom, Gollan feels he could be vulnerable first-up but his love affair with the Flemington straight means he can’t be ignored this weekend.

“He will be top weight with 59.5kg and you have to say he is vulnerable but he is such a good straight horse that you couldn’t leave him out,” he said.

“He ran second to Speediness in the race last year second up and he is going every bit as good as that if not better this prep.”

Tegan Harrison and her Melbourne carnival ride Temple Of Boom after a recent jump-out at

Tegan Harrison and her Melbourne carnival ride Temple Of Boom after a recent jump-out at Eagle Farm. Picture: Mark Cranitch

Gollan feels Pienkna will be better suited by the 1100m than Traveston Girl in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes and is convinced Looks Like The Cat will relish racing up the Flemington straight in the Danehill.

“I think he will really handle the straight … and he might be more vulnerable second up around Caulfield rather than first-up even,” he said.

“He is very forward in his prep … and he is certainly ready to run very, very well.”

Damian Browne will ride Looks Like The Cat, Traveston Girl and Alma’s Fury, while Gold Coast jockey Tegan Harrison will pilot Pienkna and Temple Of Boom.

Queensland triple Horse of the Year Buffering will also be heading south for the spring.

Queensland triple Horse of the Year Buffering will also be heading south for the spring. Picture: Darren England

Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin



Gun Case in dress rehearsal for Sydney

Boom galloper Gun Case will set himself up for a leap in class if he continues on his winning way at Doomben on Saturday.

Trainer Liam Birchley is toying with the idea of starting Gun Case at Group Two level in The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 20.

Gun Case will have just his fourth race start in the Pure Jali Handicap (1200m) following wins at Coffs Harbour and Doomben.

“After Saturday we should know exactly where we are going with Gun Case. He beat a small field at Doomben last time but it was on a very wet track,” Birchley said.

“This time the track should be dry but we are up against some handy restricted-class sprinters such as Jefferson Park who has been running in open company.”

Birchley has never hidden the fact he has a huge opinion of Gun Case but he is not locked into Sydney or Melbourne for the spring.

“We will just get over Saturday to start with. But all going well we will probably head south,” he said.

“It really is a matter of getting out the Sydney and Melbourne racing calendars and looking for races which are suitable and he might get into with his prize money level.

“I suppose his immediate aim might be The Shorts.”

Birchley believes Gun Case showed he was up to Sydney class at his first start when he was fifth behind subsequent Group One winner Cosmic Endeavour at Rosehill earlier this year.

“It was his first start, the track was wet and it was a good field,” Birchley said.

Meanwhile, Birchley is keen to press on with plans to take another of his gallopers Time To Plunder for the greys’ race series in Melbourne during the spring carnival.

Time To Plunder makes his return to racing in the Barry Nilsson Lawyers Open (1110m) at the Doomben meeting.

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Aimee on trial for Melbourne spring trip

Trainer Noel Doyle will let top filly Aimee shape her own spring destiny.

Nominated for the Furious Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, Aimee will instead resume against easier opposition in the Boston Salon Handicap at Doomben.

Aimee is entered for the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield on October 11 and the Caulfield Classic on October 18 but a trip to Melbourne hasn’t been confirmed.

Doyle is one of Queensland’s most experienced trainers but his Melbourne excursions have been rare.

His best win in Melbourne came with Palidamah in the Hong Kong Plate at Flemington more than a decade ago.

“It is a long way to go and an even longer way to walk home. You need to have a horse who is firing before you even consider going down there,” Doyle said.

“I have long-held the theory that I won’t go to Melbourne unless I think we can be competitive.”

Aimee ran third in a barrier trial behind smart sprinter Final Crescendo at the Gold Coast on August 21.

It was her first public hit-out since she ran 13th to Time For War in the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Doomben on May 21.

Before her Sires’ flop, Aimee had won four races in a row including the Group Three Ken Russell Memorial.

“If she runs well we are off to Melbourne. If not, there are plenty of races at home for her,” Doyle said.

Doyle insists there was added merit to Aimee’s juvenile record because she had to overcome bad barriers. She will start from the inside gate for her return.

Senior rider Jason Taylor was on Aimee in most of her seven starts last season but in-form apprentice Matt McGuren takes over on Saturday.

A Doomben win might not be Aimee’s only victory on Saturday.

She is a three-way battle with Flemington winner Oakleigh Girl and Group One-placed Looks Like The Cat for the honour of being named Queensland Two Year Old of the Year.

“It would be nice to win as she was so consistent but it is a strong line up of contenders,” Doyle said.

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Buffering sizzles in Eagle Farm jump-out & on track for Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley


Buffering set the Eagle Farm course proper alight in his first serious hit-out on Tuesday

Buffering set the Eagle Farm course proper alight in his first serious hit-out on Tuesday. Picture: Darren England.



QUEENSLAND’S favourite horse Buffering looks poised to return to his best this spring after a dominant jump-out win at Eagle Farm on Tuesday.

Buffering set alight the course proper in his first serious hit-out, clocking 47.4 seconds (800m) to leave his trainer Robert Heathcote and regular jockey Damian Browne gobsmacked.

“Damian has obviously had a long association with the horse and he said ‘Rob that’s probably the best he has ever felt at his first-up hit-out since I’ve been involved with the horse’,” Heathcote said.

“The three key factors that Damian mentioned were his enthusiasm to do it was 10 out of 10, he jumped and pinged and ran like the Buffering of old and he pulled up totally clear in the wind and recovered very quickly.

“Even Kevin Thomas at Washpool Lodge, who has looked after this horse since he was a yearling when he spells, said when he sent him in that this is the best he has left my place.”

Buffering took all before him last spring, notching his first win at the top level in the Manikato Stakes (Moonee Valley) in October before claiming another two Group 1s in the VRC Sprint Classic (Flemington) and Winterbottom Stakes (Ascot).

Trainer Rob Heathcote with Buffering. Picture: Darren England.

Trainer Rob Heathcote with Buffering. Picture: Darren England.


But the seven-year-old is yet to win a race in four starts this year.

He suffered a minor head injury during the winter carnival but even Heathcote started to question whether several seasons of racing at the top level was starting to take its toll.

But both trainer and jockey are now upbeat there is more in store for Queensland’s iron horse this spring.

“It’s only early days yet but the signs are promising,” Browne said.

“I’m not sure what the competition was like (Tuesday) but they were about 10 lengths behind me and I couldn’t see them in my rear vision mirror anyway.”

Damian Browne wins the VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington on Buffering. Picture: Colleen Pe

Damian Browne wins the VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington on Buffering. Picture: Colleen Petch.


Standing in Buffering’s way this spring will be the world’s best sprinter, Lankan Rupee.

The pair are likely to clash in the Moir Stakes, Manikato Stakes, Darley Classic and the Hong Kong International Sprint in December and Heathcote is looking forward to the rematches.

“Lankan Rupee is the best sprinter in the world at the moment but not by panels,” he said.

“He raced Buffering once and beat us in the TJ Smith on a heavy track but I know Buffering was not at his peak during the autumn.

“Even (in the winter) he didn’t show his usual ping off the corner and I really think my bloke can bounce back.”

Ontrack Thoroughbreds syndicate manager and form analyst Grant Morgan agrees.

“I’ve seen him do plenty of jump-outs and plenty of gallops and that’s the best I’ve ever seen him work (Tuesday),” Morgan said.

“He just did it so comfortably and his action looks fantastic and I wouldn’t be afraid to be having something on him against Lankan Rupee.”

Buffering will have another jump-out in a fortnight in preparation for his first-up run in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.

Lankan Rupee (outside) works with Lion Of Belfort at Moonee Valley trackwork on Tuesday.

Lankan Rupee (outside) works with Lion Of Belfort at Moonee Valley trackwork on Tuesday. Picture: Michael Klein.

Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin



Queensland jockeys get pay rise

Queensland jockeys will get a pay rise and a 9.5 per cent superannuation contribution in a new three-year deal.

Racing Queensland announced on Sunday that the state’s jockeys would receive $167.50 per ride with the superannuation contribution taking the amount to $183.41 for the first year.

The base payment will increase each year, going up to $170 plus 10 per cent superannuation contribution in 2015/16 and $175 plus 10.5 per cent the following season.

RQ chief executive Darren Condon said Queensland had one of the highest rates in terms of the number of rides offered each year in Australia and the boost to riding fees would make the state a much more attractive prospect to jockeys.

“We have worked closely with the Queensland Jockeys’ Association on the riding fee and superannuation arrangements and we are pleased to be able to provide future financial security for jockeys,” Condon said.

“The QJA agreed to not receive an increase last year in anticipation of the new wagering deal, which we were grateful for, and we have now been able to provide a competitive package for them.

“The riding fees are paid by Racing Queensland on behalf of the owners to reduce the cost of racing a horse and this new structure ensures the jockeys also receive an improved return.”

QJA president Glen Prentice said it was pleasing the negotiations had led to a favourable outcome for both parties.

“At all times the negotiations were conducted in the right spirit and the QJA and jockeys across the state welcome the agreement for the next three years,” he said.

The increases follow a recent boost to overall prize money from the new 30-year wagering deal between RQ and TattsBet finalised in June.

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Soldi Domani confirms potential at Doomben with Caulfield Guineas on radar


Soldi Domani clears out to score an impressive win at Doomben on Saturday at just his thi

Soldi Domani clears out to score an impressive win at Doomben on Saturday at just his third start. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

SMART colt Soldi Domani confirmed his rating as a potential top liner and put himself in line for a trip to Melbourne with his win at Doomben on Saturday.

Sporting blinkers for the first time, Soldi Domani ($8) held on to win The Courier Mail Three-Year-Old Handicap (1350m) by a neck to Life At Sea ($6).

The favourite Dansolei ($2.60) was a long neck back in third.

“He is entered for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas and that was the first step to him being on a float to Melbourne,” trainer Bryan Dais said.

“You have to dream and I think he is potentially the best horse I have been associated with. He will come back here in a fortnight and if he races up to expectation we will be on our way to Melbourne.”

Brad Stewart returns to scale on Soldi Domani. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Brad Stewart returns to scale on Soldi Domani. Picture: Mark Cranitch.


Dais said he had been around horses for 25 years as a trainer and strapper and Soldi Domani was potentially up with the best.

“I strapped the Cox Plate winner Surfers Paradise and was involved with a lot of the horses for the O’Sullivans (New Zealand’s famous racing family),” Dais said.

Winning jockey Brad Stewart said he had been able to get a lovely run just behind the pace.

“The inside barrier was a big help. He is a promising horse,” Stewart said.

Michael Cahill, who rode Dansolei, said the filly had walked out of the boxes but run on well late.

“I don’t think a better barrier would have made much difference. She was slow to go and she probably needs to step up a level.”

Soldi Domani was bought for $52,500 at the Magic Millions Ready To Run Sales in 2013 but has taken time to mature.

“He finished second at his first start in the fastest maiden ever run over 1000m at Eagle Farm. The winner Pienkna is also in line to go to Melbourne so it was a good standard race.”

“Then he didn’t handle the wet track at his previous start,” Dais said.



Tegan Harrison sits quietly on Uno Five as the pair hang on to score at Doomben. Picture:

Tegan Harrison sits quietly on Uno Five as the pair hang on to score at Doomben. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Tegan Harrison celebrated her win as Queensland’s Apprentice of the Year with a superb ride to on win on Uno Five.

As part of her apprentice title prize she has won a month with top English trainer Ed Dunlop.

But after her win one punter yelled over the fence she might teach the English a few things.

Harrison showed she had the potential to be one of Australia’s best jockeys with her efforts in group races during the Brisbane winter.

She lived up to that form when she gave Uno Five ($7) every chance before hanging on by a half neck to Lee Ho Fook ($7) in the The Jetty Handicap (2100m).

Trainer Jeremy Sylvester, who is based at Cessnock, missed Saturday’s win but is keen to keep Uno Five in Queensland.

Stable representative Jeff McCarter said Harrison had followed instructions to the letter after getting Uno Five just in behind the pace going out of the straight.

“That is exactly how we told her to ride Uno Five who can be tricky. But Uno Five seems to be racing well here and likes the Queensland sunshine.”

McCarter said Uno Five would be set for a similar race at Doomben in a fortnight.

Harrison said Uno Five had the run of the race and fought on well when tackled after hitting the lead.

“He has had a real spring in his step of late,” McCarter said.

Stories courtesy Mark Oberhardt



Turnitup to turn it on at Doomben

Group winner Turnitup owes his new trainer Lawrie Mayfield-Smith a win for more reasons than one.

Turnitup, who returns to the scene of his biggest success when he runs at Doomben on Saturday, literally owes Mayfield-Smith his life, twice.

Mayfield-Smith explained his friend, owner-breeder Gino Loiero, was looking for a stallion in 2005 to put over his mare No Finding.

Loireo and Mayfield-Smith have enjoyed a long association and just missed winning the 1996 Queensland Oaks with Sonata who finished a half head behind Arctic Scent.

Mayfield-Smith said he suggested to Loiero that he put No Finding to Dane Shadow and one of the resulting foals was Turnitup.

Troy Hall originally trained Turnitup and the gelding then went to Peter Moody at Caulfield in Melbourne.

Turnitup won the 2011 Group Three Grand Prix at Doomben under Moody but has not raced since he finished last in the 2012 Bernborough Handicap after which he was found to have an injury.

“Gino rang me and said Turnitup had some leg problems and they were thinking of putting him down,” Mayfield-Smith said.

“But I talked them into sending him up here to the University of Queensland vet school.”

“They did a bit of scraping and since I’ve had him he has never had a lame day.

“So you might say he has owed me his life twice and he might like to repay me with a win.”

Turnitup will tackle the Sono Restaurant Mail Open Handicap (1350m) on the back of a fifth in an Eagle Farm trial on August 21.

“It will probably be too short for him on Saturday,” Mayfield-Smith said.

“These old horses usually need a run or two after a spell and I think he will be better when the trips get out to 1400 metres and further.”

Mayfield Smith also has talented sprinter Star Sammy resuming in the Sky International Hcp (1200m).

The winner of six of his 16 starts, Star Sammy won an Eagle Farm barrier trial last week ahead of his return.

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Epic to turn form around at Doomben

Trainer Kelly Schweida admits he is baffled by the poor last-start effort of the usually consistent Epic.

Schweida is hoping Epic’s return to his favourite track and distance in the Courier Mail Taste Open Hcp (1600m) at Doomben on Saturday will result in a turnaround.

At Eagle Farm two weeks ago Epic ran poorly to finish second last behind Ferment, beaten nearly seven lengths.

“I have to admit I don’t know what happened. It was the worst run he has ever put in for me,” Schweida said.

“We had the vets and chiropractor go over him and had his blood checked. There appears to be nothing wrong.”

“Maybe it was the weight or just one of those runs. We will find out on Saturday.”

Schweida has called on in-form apprentice Luke Tarrant to reduce Epic’s weight to 55kg.

“It means Epic meets Ferment five kilos better and he also meets a few others better as well,” he said.

Epic has had five attempts at the Doomben 1600m for three wins and two minor placings.

Schweida is concerned about the 59kg three-year-old Shadowside will have to carry in the Courier Mail Three Year Old (1350m).

“He is actually up two kilograms for running seventh first-up and it is four more than he carried at win at his start before that,” he said.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle trainer Kris Lees will monitor the weather ahead of Fine Bubble’s scheduled start in the Corona Beach Party Hcp (1200m).

Fine Bubbles won her only start in Brisbane in a fillies and mares handicap at Eagle Farm three weeks ago but Lees said she would not want it as wet as it has been for the past two weeks.

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Birchley undecided on plans for Country

Trainer Liam Birchley doesn’t know what to make of three-year-old Headwater Country after his freakish win at Ipswich on Wednesday.

Headwater Country ($3.60) appeared likely to run last at the 600m and still looked only a place chance with 100m to go before charging late to win the Brisbane Airport Ground Transport Handicap (1000m) by a half neck over Celestial Dragon ($4.40).

Birchley had a big opinion of Headwater Country as a two-year-old and the horse placed behind Earthquake in an early-season juvenile race in Sydney but failed to fire in the autumn.

He returned with a handy barrier trial victory over subsequent Silver Shadow Stakes winner Bring Me The Maid at Doomben last month and took that form to the races with a first-up win at Eagle Farm on August 9.

However, Birchley is still unsure what to do with Headwater Country.

“He had no luck in those races as a two-year-old and we gave him a spell. He seems to have come back well,” Birchley said.

“But I must admit I still don’t know what to make of today’s run. You would have torn up your ticket halfway down the straight.

“He wasn’t going to win until the last 20 metres and he really didn’t travel at any stage of the race.”

Headwater Country will have his next start in a three-year-old race at Doomben two weeks from Saturday.

“That race is over 1200m and after it we might have a clearer idea of whether we should be heading back south,” Birchley said.

Meanwhile, Patinack Farm celebrated a win at Ipswich when favourite Armoured ($2.60) did best in a slogging duel with Midnight Dancer ($4.60) to claim the Brisbane Airport Corporation Cup (1666m).

All horses owned by Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm will be put through a Magic Millions dispersal sale next month after the former mining baron decided to sell off his racing and breeding interests.

Story courtesy



Dansolei poised to end trainer’s dry run

Trainer Kelso Wood is set to end a rare run of outs with promising three-year-old Dansolei at Doomben on Saturday.

Dansolei will be having just her second start when she tackles the Courier Mail Handicap (1350m).

Wood has been one of Brisbane’s top trainers for three decades, his best horses including the Group One winners Unequalled and Sizzling, along with Magic Millions Classic winner Real Surreal.

However, Wood has been experiencing a frustrating run of outs and has not had a city winner since Seeking More scored at Doomben on April 12.

He has had 27 metropolitan runners since then and 15 of those have finished fourth or better.

Dansolei is set to end the drought based on her impressive debut effort when she finished third to promising filly Pienkna at Eagle Farm on August 6.

Pienkna franked the form by winning in good fashion at Doomben last Saturday.

Dansolei was to have run in that race but Wood instead elected to scratch her in favour of a barrier trial which she won by four lengths.

“As it turned out the track (at Doomben) was heavy anyway,” Wood said.

“I have always thought she would be better over more ground than the 1000m of her first-up run and the 1350m of Saturday’s race should suit her better.”

Wood has enjoyed plenty of success with horses bred along similar lines to Dansolei, who is by Danzero out of Stolen Beauty.

He has won feature races with two of the filly’s half-relations, Real Surreal and Group Three winner Benny’s Buttons.

Wood also has an affinity with the Danzero breed with his former classy mare Zero Rock being by the Danehill sire.

Meanwhile, Wood is also hoping for a change of luck for his grand old galloper Belltone in Saturday’s Courier Mail Qld Taste Handicap (1615m).

Belltone hasn’t won since last October but has been unlucky in several runs in top company in recent months.

Senior rider Michael Cahill will handle Dansolei and Wood’s apprentice Kirk Matheson has the mount on Belltone.

Story courtesy

Looks Like The Cat ready to pounce on Melbourne Spring Carnival
Looks Like The Cat has matured according to trainer Tony Gollan and his primary Melbourne

Looks Like The Cat has matured according to trainer Tony Gollan and his primary Melbourne spring carnival target is the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) but the flashy chestnut has also been nominated for the Cox Plate.



FLASHY chestnut Looks Like The Cat has matured from a boy to a man and trainer Tony Gollan is even daring to dream of the $3 million Cox Plate.

It might sound like a fantasy.

But there is no doubting the potential of the striking three-year-old who got his name because he looks like baldy-faced assassin Apache Cat, the eight-time Group 1 winner with unique white markings.

While Looks Like The Cat’s primary Melbourne Spring Carnival target is the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), he has also been nominated for the Cox Plate.

Tegan Harrison with trainer Tony Gollan at the Eagle Farm jumpouts on Tuesday. Picture: M

Tegan Harrison with trainer Tony Gollan at the Eagle Farm jumpouts on Tuesday. Picture: Mark Cranitch.


He might be $100-1 in early markets but Gollan is making no apologies for Cox Plate dreaming.

“We are all the same, we are all dreaming in the early stages of the Spring and that is what it is all about,” Gollan said.

“I saw Gai Waterhouse the other day was dreaming up all sorts of ideas with her three-year-old Almalad as well.

“These are rising three-year-olds and into their classic year.

“You nominate them for all the big races and you see how it all pans out throughout the Spring.

“More often than not you get disappointed, but you never know if you don’t nominate them for the big races.”

The jumpout field in the closing stages at Eagle Farm on Tuesday. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

The jumpout field in the closing stages at Eagle Farm on Tuesday. Picture: Mark Cranitch.


Looks Like The Cat joined fellow Gollan stable Spring hopefuls Temple Of Boom and Alma’s Fury in a 800m jumpout at Eagle Farm on Tuesday morning to prepare for their Melbourne trip.

The trio worked well but most eyes were on Looks Like The Cat who wore blinkers in an experiment which is likely to be repeated during his Melbourne mission.

Jockey Damian Browne, who maintains Looks Like The Cat was a certainty beaten when running third behind Almalad in the Group 1 JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm in June, was delighted

with the jumpout.

Almalad (centre) just shades Brazen Beau (inside) and Looks Like The Cat (outside) in the

Almalad (centre) just shades Brazen Beau (inside) and Looks Like The Cat (outside) in the Group 1 JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm in June. Picture: Mark Cranitch.


Browne reported Looks Like The Cat has returned from a break “bigger and stronger” and the blinkers sharpened him up and helped him to focus.

“The horse has got plenty of ability but it is just the matter of him doing things right,” Browne said.

“In the JJ Atkins he was reluctant to come out from behind the two horses in front of him and I really had to drag him out. He should have won, I have no doubt about that. He was a big baby back then, very immature.

“He has come back much bigger and stronger. If he gets his racing manners sorted out, which he appears to have improved a lot, there is no reason why he won’t be extremely competitive in Melbourne.”

While Spirit Of Boom’s grand career has come to an end and he has started a new career at stud, Gollan feels older brother Temple Of Boom is on track for an impressive Melbourne campaign.

Temple Of Boom is an eight-year-old but has never been in better shape heading to Melbourne.

And it appears he doesn’t miss his younger brother Spirit Of Boom around the Gollan stables.

“I wouldn’t say he misses him. Temple Of Boom is a very matey horse who will be mates with anybody,” Gollan laughed.

Tegan Harrison and Temple Of Boom at Tuesday’s Eagle Farm jumpouts. Picture: Mark Cranitc

Tegan Harrison and Temple Of Boom at Tuesday’s Eagle Farm jumpouts. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Story courtesy Ben Dorries


Lanieri continues family’s winning ways

Owner-breeder Jack O’Hagan hit the jackpot when he bought a striking looking filly 25 years ago.

The filly went on to race as Belle Salieri and won six races including the 1997 Dane Ripper Stakes.

However, it has been as a broodmare that Belle Salieri has excelled and the win of Lanieri at Doomben on Saturday was the 37th by one of her offspring.

The best known to date have been Belltone, who has won 10 races, and Roman Squire, who won seven.

The other winners from Bellle Salieri include Belscay (10 wins), Miss Orielle (4), Miss Courtly (1), and Secret Donna (1).

“She has been a good producer,” said O’Hagan who had his first Brisbane winner in the late 1940s.

Lanieri made it four wins in a row when she won the Mitavite Hcp (1200m).

Trainer Lindsay Gough has a big opinion of the mare.

“She has done a good job coming from a maiden winner in June to a city winner in August,” he said.

“But she has been up for a while and I don’t want to press her too hard.”

Gough said was confident at her next preparation she would be ready to race over 1400m or even longer.

“I think she might be the ideal mare for the winter fillies and mares races next year but we won’t get ahead of ourselves,” he said.

Trainer Tony Gollan will decide early this week whether Pienkna, who won the three-year-old race at Doomben, will head to Melbourne.

Lucky Tom, third behind Pienkna, remains on an ambitious spring path despite his defeat.

“He slipped a bit coming out of the barriers and a couple of horses crossed him to put him three back on the fence where you didn’t want to be,” trainer Harold Norman said.

“He will be better for the run and we are still going to Melbourne at this stage.”

Norman has entered Lucky Tom for the Cauflield Guineas and the Cox Plate.

Story courtesy

Pienkna, Gun Case and Lanieri all shine on a bleak day at Doomben
Races at Doomben, winner race 2 number 10, Gun Case, Jockey Glen Colless. Trainer Liam Bi

Gun Case is poised to make up for lost time as trainer Liam Birchley tries to win more prizemoney with the son of War Pass. Picture: Jono Searle.



THE bleak August chill may have unearthed a number of future topliners at Doomben on Saturday, with Pienkna, Gun Case and Lanieri all promising better things to come.

Late starter Gun Case is poised to make up for lost time as trainer Liam Birchley races the clock to escalate his rating and bank account.

Birchley has no doubt the son of War Pass is up to some better races south of the border, but fears he would be balloted out of suitable targets at the moment.

“He dropped the rider one day and ran back to the stables and slipped over on the bitumen,” Birchley said.

“We couldn’t stitch it because it was a real burning type of abrasion so we just had to wait and that’s why he took so long to get to the races.”

In all, Gun Case was scratched four times before he finally debuted at Rosehill in March.

A minor viral issue means Gun Case kicked off his current preparation at Coffs Harbour.

“I didn’t mind taking him away because the trip did him good,” Birchley said.

The laid back Glen Colless has been bullish in his praise for Gun Case.

“I don’t get excited by too many these days but after he won at Coffs Harbour I was pretty happy to stay on him,” Colless said.

Despite her inexperience, Pienkna continues to impress trainer Tony Gollan. Picture: Jono

Despite her inexperience, Pienkna continues to impress trainer Tony Gollan. Picture: Jono Searle.


Trainer Tony Gollan has made no secret of the high regard he holds Pienkna, but stopped short of locking in a southern trip after she made it two from two on Saturday.

“She’s a beautiful filly, with a great temperament, but she’s still learning,” Gollan said.

“She’s not putting it all together yet. I think she will be better when she has something to follow.

“I don’t think she handled that track either. She didn’t really get through the ground. The other day on firm ground she pinged a lot quicker.”

Gollan said he will “let the dust settle” before deciding on where to go next.

Both Lindsay Gough and Ryan Wiggins were thinking the worst when Lanieri was shuffled back to near last coming to the turn.

“I was thinking ‘where am I going to go here?’ I just kept getting shuffled back,” Wiggins said.

“Nothing went her way really, but she still put them to the sword pretty easily.”

Gough said it was always going to be similar with Lanieri because he wants her to relax so she can be tried over further later on.

Gough said Lanieri may have one more run this time in before being put away for a tilt at stronger races next preparation.

“It’s all about getting her set up for next preparation,” Gough said.

Jockey Ryan Wiggins had plenty of work to do on Lanieri, who came from last to win at Doo

Jockey Ryan Wiggins had plenty of work to do on Lanieri, who came from last to win at Doomben. Picture: Jono Searle.

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Sunday Mail (Qld)

Gun Case yet to confirm potential but ready to fire at Doomben Saturday
Glen Colless admits he is looking forward to riding promising four-year-old Gun Case agai

Glen Colless admits he is looking forward to riding promising four-year-old Gun Case again at Doomben on Saturday. Picture: Peter Wallis.



VETERAN jockey Glen Colless has never been one to make big statements.

The unflappable Gold Coast hoop has been in the game long enough to know it’s easy to get carried away.

In true Colless style, he wants to see Gun Case ‘progress through his grades’ before putting a label on the recent maiden winner.

But he did let a little hint away when he couldn’t recall the last time he was this excited about riding a horse.

“I very rarely get excited about them because you’ve got them one day and haven’t the next,” Colless said.

“I think we are too quick to label them these days and I just want to see him go through his grades first.

“But these horses don’t come around often – and I haven’t been this excited about a horse for at least a couple of years.”

Gun Case’s potential can be highlighted by his $1.80 quote for Saturday’s no metropolitan handicap (1200m) at Doomben.

The odds-on price comes despite the four-year-old’s only win coming in a 1000m Coffs Harbour maiden on August 7.

He started at $1.14 that day and won by 3¼-lengths untouched and Colless said the first-up victory was even better than it looked.

Gun Cases’s trainer Liam Birchley

Gun Cases’s trainer Liam Birchley


“He got in an awkward spot at Coffs and I was third back the fence locked away and coming around the corner I was held up a touch and I probably had to give up three lengths (to get out),” he said.

“But when I asked him to let down he gathered them up in a stride really.

“I don’t know how good he will be and I hate giving them too much of a wrap.

“We will get more of a guide on him on Saturday.”

Gun Case showed he had a future when running fifth to subsequent Group 1 winner Cosmic Endeavour on debut in a benchmark 80 at Rosehill in March.

But with just two race starts next to his name, even trainer Liam Birchley is in the dark about where he will end up.

“He gives me the feeling he is a (Group horse in the making) but because he has had a few small issues along the way I’ve never really given him full bore on the track,” he said.

“It’s meant I haven’t got to see what you usually see when you are getting them ready for a race.

“Because of that you hold back a bit and see what happens on race day and what we’ve seen so far has been really good.

“The thing I am most excited about is how far he will run and his sire (War Pass) was a miler.

“If he can get to a mile with the turn of foot he has got then he is going to be well above average.”

Birchley knows Gun Case will have his knockers.

Even he admits there are plenty of reasons not to take the odds-on price.

But Birchley is upbeat he will prove his doubters wrong.

“In a lot of ways you could find a reason to pot him,” he said.

“I’m sure a lot of people will say he hasn’t run for a little while and he is going to 1200m for the first time and he is not proven in this company yet.

“He has still got it all to do but hopefully it’s just a step along the way.”

Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin

Falino on trial for Sydney trip at Doomben

Smart galloper Falino will have to prove his first-up win was no fluke before he earns a trip to Sydney.

Falino surprised his connections when he came from near-last to win a 1000m open handicap at Eagle Farm on August 9.

It was his first start since November when he was well beaten in the Recognition Stakes over 1600m.

Falino has always had a reputation as a talented horse and won four of his first eight starts including the Group Three BTC Classic when trained by Jeff Caught.

He subsequently had a wind operation and was transferred to trainer Darren Bell who has won two races with him.

Falino showed his best form when he unleashed a withering burst to score at Eagle Farm two weeks ago.

“It really wasn’t expected, I thought they would be way too sharp for him,” Bell said.

“He had only had a jump out a couple of weeks before his last-start win and I just thought they would run him off his feet.”

However, Bell wants to see Falino repeat that effort before he makes concrete plans.

“I have been pleased with him this week but let us just see how he goes on Saturday before we get too excited,” he said.

Bell pointed out Falino had a few things against him in Saturday’s race and has only been placed once in five second-up starts.

“And if it rains he won’t be running if the track gets too heavy,” Bell said.

Bell has discussed the possibility of a Sydney trip with Falino’s owners, former bookmakers Fred Lansky and his son Trevor.

“They are also happy to let the horse tell us if he is ready for Sydney,” Bell said.

Apprentice Geoff Goold will ride Falino in Saturday’s The Queensland X-Ray Open Handicap (1200m).

Story courtesy

Aiden Holt loses battle to continue riding but is back in good health
Former jockey Aidan Holt found himself repeatedly forcing up his food so he could continu

Former jockey Aidan Holt found himself repeatedly forcing up his food so he could continue riding. Picture: Sarah Marshall.



FORMER star apprentice jockey Aidan Holt has revealed how he was forced to vomit up most of his meals almost every day for the last six months of his career.

The 19-year-old opened up on Tuesday about his constant weight battle two months after he was forced to retire because of the issue.

“I would wake up and even the day after the races I would be too scared to eat so I would eat something and then flip it back up,” the Brisbane-based Holt said.

One of the state’s most gifted young jockeys, Holt was determined to keep going and said the procedure of ‘flipping’ became common practice for him in the last six months of his career.

“I had to do it all the time and it would be like a Monday I wouldn’t do it and that’s about it,” he said.

“The rest of the time I was that worried about my weight — so you just get rid of what you had to eat.”

Holt finally gave up the jockey dream when he couldn’t get down to 57.5kg for the ride on Epic

at Doomben on June 21.

Aidan Holt returns to scale after an Ipswich win in June. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Aidan Holt returns to scale after an Ipswich win in June. Picture: Mark Cranitch.


He was starting to cough up blood and had already lost close to 6kg in the two days prior to the meeting.

Holt admits he rarely felt well on raceday.

“You just feel light headed all the time,” he said.

“When you are riding it’s all right and the adrenalin keeps you going but as soon as you hit the finish line and pull up it hits you.”

Holt is unsure whether other Queensland hoops take part in ‘flipping’ but warned young jockeys would continue to be forced to retire if the minimum riding weight of 54kg isn’t raised soon.

Sports doctor Anita Green warned constant induced vomiting was dangerous and said it could even lead to death in some cases.

“The worry is some people tip over in developing a true eating disorder and a small percentage of those people do actually die in the long run because it becomes entrenched and they lose so much weight and can literally self-starve themselves,” said Green, who is also a Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson.

“It’s also a problem with losing acid and potassium and if you do a lot of vomiting it can actually upset the chemistry in the blood.

“It can cause damage to your oesophagus as well and to the enamel on your teeth because acid isn’t what you expect to have in your mouth.”

Fortunately, Holt came out the other end safely and now tips the scales at a comfortable 68kg.

“I spoil myself a bit now and I have a steak and a beer,” he said.

“I have a lot more energy and I wake up and I’m happy to go to work.

“I started back at (trainer) Liam Birchley’s last week after a five-week holiday back home (in Townsville) and I’m riding trackwork and still doing jump outs and trials.

“If it comes off naturally I would give (being a jockey) another go but I don’t think so.”


Aidan Holt’s last victory as a jockey was on Pinch River at Ipswich in June. Picture: Mar

Aidan Holt’s last victory as a jockey was on Pinch River at Ipswich in June. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin

Extra money already welcomed by interstate raiders as Chris Waller looks north
Chris Waller has his eyes focused on north of the NSW border with Racing Queensland rampi

Chris Waller has his eyes focused on north of the NSW border with Racing Queensland ramping up its prizemoney from October 1. Picture: Richard Gosling



RECORD-SETTING trainer Chris Waller is set to race more horses in Queensland in the wake of the state’s prizemoney overhaul.

Waller may consider setting up a Queensland satellite stable in “three to four years” to capitalise on the increased purses.

Waller welcomed Racing Queensland’s announcement on Monday that Saturday met­ropolitan prizemoney would increase from $45,000 to a minimum of $65,000 a race from October 1 and hinted he was likely to take advantage of the rise.

“It won’t be long before (my) NSW owners work out it is good prizemoney and it’s more than our midweek prizemoney in Sydney ($40,000),” Waller said.

“If there are suitable races up there they will soon say, ‘Chris, come on, let’s take a few up to Queensland’.’’

Waller is not in the position to set up a Queensland satellite stable now but did hint it could happen in the future.

“We are in Queensland for three months of the year anyway and we may as well be there for the other nine months,” he said. “But because we just opened our Melbourne stables it’s not really possible at the moment.

Chris Waller is predicting a host of southern trainers will aim for Queensland races more

Chris Waller is predicting a host of southern trainers will aim for Queensland races more often following the prizemoney increases. Picture: Mark Evans

“But who knows down the track and they are obviously starting to head back in the right direction and in three to four years time it could be a different story.”

The prizemoney announcement on Monday could change the landscape of metro racing in the state, with Waller predicting a host of southern trainers would aim for Queensland races more often.

Peter Snowden has not ruled out setting up a satellite stable in Queensland one day. Pict

Peter Snowden has not ruled out setting up a satellite stable in Queensland one day. Picture: Brett Costello

“Especially in our carnival time in Sydney and whether it be spring or autumn it’s quite hard to find the right races for your normal Saturday class horses,” he said.

“You will really notice it then. You will find a lot of the country horses going up, especially the ones halfway in between Brisbane and Sydney.”

Newcastle trainer Kris Lees fits said he was likely to send even more horses north.

Lees has increased his Queensland runners noticeably in recent months and has recent Eagle Farm winner Fine Bubbles engaged at Doomben again on Saturday.

Peter Snowden also did not rule out setting up a satellite stable in Queensland one day.

“For me all my attention is going into Sydney at the moment but I wouldn’t rule it out,” the trainer said.

“I love Brisbane and it’s a great place with good people and now they are doing the tracks up it will make it more attractive.”

Snowden said the money overhaul would help Queensland bridge the gap with NSW and Victorian racing.

“It will bring it back for sure,” he said. “People were going broke but now they have kicked the prizemoney up to that level there is something there for everyone.

“It will lead to bigger fields, bigger revenue and bigger turnover.”

Story courtesy of Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin



Matt McGuren making the most of Brisbane

Apprentice Matt McGuren is determined to make the most of his second coming as a metropolitan rider with the support of Queensland trainers.

He had a stint in Brisbane two years ago riding winners for some of the top stables including Patinack Farm, but weight issues got the better of him and he returned to northern NSW.

McGuren has decided to give it another try and has made the move to the Bruce Hill stable on the Gold Coast.

Since joining Hill last month he has ridden eight winners including four in the metropolitan area.

Hill has a huge opinion of McGuren, boosted by the rider’s five recent wins on stable horses.

“Matt can really ride and if he can get his weight under control he will be in demand,” Hill said.

Hill has supported his apprentice with three rides at Eagle Farm on Wednesday, the final meeting at the track until mid-2015.

Eagle Farm will undergo renovations including a complete reconstruction of the course proper.

Another McGuren fan is top trainer Rob Heathcote who believes the apprentice is one of the best value riders around.

“He is a strong intelligent rider with a three kilo claim. He just needs to keep his weight in check,” Heathcote said after McGuren won on Tail and All for the stable on Saturday.

McGuren is working hard on stabilising his weight.

“I am really trying to get it under control. I ride at 55 kilograms at the moment and if I can get it down to 54 I will be happy,” he said.”

“There are opportunities in Brisbane and I will be here until the end of the year when my apprenticeship ends.

Story courtesy



Queensland prize money increases announced

Saturday prize money in Brisbane will rise by 37 per cent with each race to be worth a minimum of $65,000.

Racing Queensland announced across-the-board prize money increases on Monday with metropolitan gallops and greyhound racing the biggest winners.

Overall thoroughbred prize money will rise by up to 20 per cent with the biggest lift on the Saturday metropolitan meetings.

Greyhounds will receive a 50 per cent boost while harness racing goes up by 16.5 per cent.

The increases will begin from October 1 and run through to 2016.

At an industry briefing on Monday, RQ chairman Kevin Dixon said the system of the three codes receiving a set percentage of available funds had been scrapped.

He said the prize money would now be based on each code’s individual revenue less the costs incurred.

“The idea is to enable the codes which are performing to benefit from their achievements,” Dixon said.

“If a code shoots the lights out they deserve to benefit from their hard work.”

Dixon said it was important to maximise growth by recognising the hard work of each code.

“We want to break the mentality of hand-outs to be replaced by a policy which encouraged all codes to maximise their returns,” he said.

The changes follow a new $4.5 billion 30-year Product Agreement, RQ signed with the Tatts Group in late June.

The minimum prize money for Saturday metropolitan racing will be further boosted for horses eligible for the QTIS bonus scheme.

There will also be major increases to provincial and country racing.

Midweek metropolitan prizemoney will now be $20,000 up from $17,000 per race.

Gold Coast, Ipswich and Sunshine Coast meetings will average $16,000 each which is up about 25 per cent .

Toowoomba’s prize money will go from an average $11,000 to $14,000.

All country races will now be worth $7000.

Racing Minister Steve Dickson said when his government came to power racing had been in disarray and far from united.

“Today we are united and it is going from the dark to the light,” he said.

Monday’s announcement follows news of a stronger QTIS scheme which encourages investors to buy Queensland-bred horses and which will inject further millions into the industry.



Farm abandonment confirms wisdom of revamp

The reason Eagle Farm racecourse will be closed for redevelopment was plainly evident when its meeting was abandoned on Saturday.

Eagle Farm will shut after Wednesday’s midweek meeting for at least eight months while $22 million is spent on its racing surface and facilities.

Stewards abandoned Saturday’s meeting after three races when jockeys complained about visibility.

The Eagle Farm track has been held together by soil fill in recent years and when it is wet it turns to mud and flies into the faces of jockeys and horses.

A mud-splattered Chris Munce summed it up best when he said: “What time do the tractors arrive?”

Fellow jockey Jim Byrne said rider safety had to be paramount.

The Brisbane Race Club had put a major effort into Saturday’s meeting, promoting it as a chance to say goodbye to the old Eagle Farm surface.

BRC Chairman Neville Bell said one or two extra races would be added to Wednesday’s racing.

“I suppose it is ironic we have had a drought for eight months and now it decides to rain,” Bell said.

Earlier, a flu-ridden trainer Rob Heathcote was lucky when he was too slow to scratch his horse Tail and All from the Secutor Securities Handicap (1600m).

Heathcote was keen to scratch Tail and All ($4.70) but decided to run when the favourite L’Entrecote was taken out.

“Kelly Schweida was too quick for me and scratched L’Entrecote so I thought I might as well run,” Heathcote said.

“Tail and All has struggled some times on heavy tracks but he is honest as they come.”

Tail and All’s win continued the good run for apprentice Matt McGuren who has switched to Bruce Hill on the Gold Coast.

“I am here to the end of the year when I am out of my apprenticeship,” said McGuren, who comes from the NSW Northern Rivers region.

Story courtesy of

Heavy weekend showers threaten last two race meetings at Eagle Farm


Racing Minister Steve Dickson at the outdated Eagle Farm track. The last two meetings on

Racing Minister Steve Dickson at the outdated Eagle Farm track. The last two meetings on the 150-year-old surface at Eagle Farm are likely to be reduced to slogfests with heavy showers set to hit Brisbane and stick around for the entire weekend. Picture: Mark Cranitch.



THE last two meetings on the outdated Eagle Farm track are likely to be reduced to slogfests with heavy showers set to hit Brisbane and stick around for the entire weekend.

This Saturday’s metro meeting to be held on the 150-year-old surface with renovations on the track set to begin following the Eagle Farm meeting next Wednesday.

To mark the occasion, the Brisbane Racing Club will offer 300 spectators the chance to take home a piece of the track but they could be picking up mud if weather forecasters are correct.

Weatherzone meteorologist Rob Sharpe said heavy showers are expected to hit Brisbane on Saturday afternoon and continue on Sunday leaving Wednesday’s meeting in some doubt.

“It will be pretty wet across the whole day on Saturday but the peak will be in the afternoon and evening,” Sharpe said.

“At the start of (racing on Saturday) it won’t be too much of a bog but by the end it will.”

Anywhere between 20-40ml is expected to fall at Eagle Farm on Saturday and a further 10-20ml is expected in the region on Sunday.

The deluge might not sound disastrous but the Eagle Farm track has fallen to pieces even with the lightest of showers in recent months.

One of the driest winters on memory saved Racing Queensland from embarrassment during the winter carnival this year but they won’t be as lucky this time around.

There is certain to be a host of scratchings if the rain comes as expected but one man hoping the forecasters are right is Ben Currie.

Mudlark Rothera has won five from nine on heavy tracks.
Mudlark Rothera has won five from nine on heavy tracks.
Youthful King loves it wet, winning six races on slow and heavy surfaces.
Youthful King loves it wet, winning six races on slow and heavy surfaces.

The Toowoomba trainer has mudlark Rothera engaged in the Stanley River Thoroughbreds Open Handicap (1400m) and hopes the return of rain could help turn the nine-year-old’s form around.

“He is getting on a bit and I’ve questioned his last couple of runs whether he really wants to attack the line or not,” Currie said.

“It’s more just an effort thing for him at the moment and whether he wants to be there but hopefully the rain might be something that can spark him.

“His work actually has been really good lately and this week is probably as good as I’ve seen him work.

“He loves the wet and has a good record on heavy tracks, so hopefully the rain comes.”

Rothera, who has won five from nine starts on heavy tracks, joins a host of wet track specialists racing at Eagle Farm, including Sequillian (race one), Youthful King (race four), Lee Ho Fook (race six), Cash ‘N’ Style (race seven) and Forefront (race eight).

Footnote: The piece of the track that will be taken is from an area not in use at the meeting on Wednesday.

Cash ‘N’ Style is sure to appreciate the wet weather forecast for Brisbane this weekend.

Cash ‘N’ Style is sure to appreciate the wet weather forecast for Brisbane this weekend.



Speed merchant Gojo Mimo set for city test

Muscled-up gelding Gojo Mimo’s reputation as one of Queensland’s fastest horses out of the barriers will be tested with his return to city racing on Saturday.

Gojo Mimo will be having his first start in metropolitan class since November when he tackles the Herbert Smith Freehills Handicap (1000m).

It will be one of the highlights of Saturday’s racing as Gojo Mimo has won both his runs since a spell with displays of sustained speed at Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast.

Both times he has bounced out of awkward barriers and led for comfortable wins in smart time over 1000m.

The jury is out on whether he can repeat those performances against a field of hardened city-class horses.

But trainer Brad Herne is confident Gojo Mimo has returned a much stronger horse.

“I think it is one of the reasons he is now getting out of the barriers so quickly. He looks stronger and he is starting to live up to the promise we always knew he had,” Herne said.

“We have had this race in mind for him right from the start of this campaign. I think 1000 metres is ideal for him at the moment but I have no doubt he will eventually run a strong 1200 metres.”

Herne said Gojo Mimo was ideally drawn at barrier two on Saturday in a much tougher field than the gelding had faced.

“There are a couple of really tough old short-course horses in the field so it will give us a good guide to where we are at,” he said.

Jockey Ashley Butler, who rode Gojo Mimo at his last win, will ride the gelding at 54kg.

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Jockey Tegan Harrison almost falls from Few Are Chosen at Doomben
Tegan Harrison did well to stay on Few Are Chosen at Doomben.

Tegan Harrison did well to stay on Few Are Chosen at Doomben.

TEGAN Harrison’s spectacular effort to stay in the saddle of Few Are Chosen at Doomben yesterday has sparked renewed debate about the safety of the 1000m start at the venue.

With three horses crossing from outside, Few Are Chosen became the meat in the sandwich and dipped sharply, forcing Harrison’s left leg out of the iron and catapulting her to a near hand stand position.

Somehow she was able to hang on and the horse recovered to finish sixth.

At a subsequent inquiry a bitterly disappointed Damian Browne was suspended for eight meetings over the incident after pleading to stewards the interference was a result of both his horse wanting to hang in and pressure from the outside.

At a different inquiry, Grant Cooksley was outed for seven meetings over a separate incident in the same race.

Trainers and jockeys detest the 1000m start at Doomben because of the very short run to the first turn.

When the rail is out 10m, like yesterday, it exacerbates the problem, because there is only a 140m run to the first turn.

Chief steward Allan Reardon describes it as “a bad start” and said it has been a problem for many years.

Reardon said his panel may make a submission to Racing Queensland programmers about the future of the start.

“The problem we have at the moment with Eagle Farm being out of play is that it’s the only 1000m metropolitan start we have, which is essential for early season two-year-olds,” Reardon said.

Champion jockey Chris Munce said it was similar to the 1800m at Eagle Farm but because of the early pressure in 1000m races, it was harder to negate.

“Put it this way, you very rarely see horses come from wide gates to win at that start,” Munce said. “I know the winner has come from out there this time, but usually you have to have panels on them to do it.”

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby



Punters out in force for Doomben midweek

Doomben played host to its biggest crowd in more than four decades when 20,000 racegoers packed the racetrack for the Brisbane Race Club’s annual Mekka Wednesday.

The Exhibition Wednesday meeting is usually held at Eagle Farm but was switched to Doomben this year.

The biggest post-war crowd at Doomben was in 1973 when 30,000 people were on hand to farewell legendary racehorse Gunsynd.

BRC chairman Neville Bell said just under 20,000 fans turned up when Black Caviar won the 2011 BTC Cup.

“However, Wednesday’s crowd will be the equal if not more than the Black Caviar day. We had 12,000 pre sales and there have been about 7,000 to 8,000 walk ups.”

“We won’t have a final figure until Thursday but it looks as though it is the biggest crowd in 41 years.”

There was plenty of action on the racetrack with apprentice Ruby Ride bouncing back from a serious fall on Sunday to win on Thinkhesaurus ($5) in the Mother Energy Handicap (1010m).

Ride was flung over the fence on her way to the barriers at Gatton on Sunday and taken to hospital.

“Thinkhesaurus is a smart horse and it was an incentive to get back in the saddle,” Ride said.

South African jockey Robbie Fradd scored his first win at his first day riding in Brisbane when Vaz De Torres ($17) won the Corona Beach Handicap (1600m).

Fradd, who has ridden with great success in his homeland and Singapore, has moved to Queensland. He will be doing some of the riding for top trainer Rob Heathcote who has Vaz De Torres.

Trainer Stewart Mackinnon’s confidence in the potential of his galloper Arawak ($13) paid off when the gelding won the Captain Morgan Handicap (1200m).

“One of Arawak’s owners told me they had bought a horse and it was a `roarer’,” Mackinnon said. “She asked me what that meant and I said it certainly didn’t mean it was a lion.

“But Arawak had an operation and after getting over an infection he has shown plenty of potential.”

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John Kissick considering joining Queensland’s booming young jockey ranks
John Kissick is about to embark on a two-week Queensland holiday and will visit Eagle Far

John Kissick is about to embark on a two-week Queensland holiday and will visit Eagle Farm races on Saturday to introduce himself to local trainers and jockeys with the intention of moving north to ride in six to 12 months.

QUEENSLAND’S booming young jockey ranks could be boosted further with talented NSW hoop John Kissick, a former apprentice to leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller, looking to move north.

Kissick, 24, is about to embark on a two-week Queensland holiday and will visit Eagle Farm races on Saturday to introduce himself to local trainers and jockeys.

Now based in Wagga Wagga in south-western NSW, the former NSW champion apprentice says he is keen to make the move to Brisbane in the next six to 12 months.

Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller.

Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller.

“Sydney probably wasn’t for me although I learned a lot there working for Mr Waller,’’ Kissick said.

“I wanted to leave Sydney to go back to the bush but I am looking for some new challenges and I have my eye on Brisbane.

“I like the lifestyle and the warmer weather in Brisbane and it has some very good racing there as well.

“My Dad lives in Brisbane but I will probably look to buy my own place up there.’’

The laid-back Kissick has saddle and will travel and currently rides anywhere and everywhere in regional NSW including Bathurst, Goulburn, Forbes, Gundagai and recently rode as far north as Coffs Harbour.

He has travelled thousands of kilometres in the bush since returning from his Sydney apprenticeship with Waller.

But he is far more than a bush jockey and Waller was hugely impressed by the youngster and had no doubt he could make it as a senior metropolitan jockey.

The signs were there early that Kissick was a rare talent.

In 2011-12, he was crowned NSW’s leading apprentice despite only riding for eight months of the season because of injury.

Kissick has done it the hard way, badly breaking his pelvis in a track accident as a teenager, which hospitalised him for three months just when he was about to get his ticket to ride.

He spent a further seven months off the track and was lucky to be able to walk again, let alone continue his riding career.

Kissick’s looming move north will inject further competition into Brisbane’s jockey ranks at a time where there is already fierce riding rivalries.

A horde of young apprentices have made their names in Brisbane in recent times and 21-year-old Tim Bell took out last season’s metropolitan riding title.

But senior riders such as Chris Munce and Larry Cassidy are also in fine form and won’t be swept aside by the young guns.

John Kissick clears out to win on Secessio for trainer Chris Waller at Rosehill last year

John Kissick clears out to win on Secessio for trainer Chris Waller at Rosehill last year.

Story courtesy of Ben Dorries



Better Than Ready not ready for spring

Injury-prone sprinter Better Than Ready will soon begin pre-training but spring racing is out of reach.

Trainer Kelly Schweida is not giving up on getting him back for the summer features at home in Brisbane ahead of an autumn campaign.

Schweida admitted he was a frustrating horse to train with a torn hamstring the latest problem to interrupt his career as he was being prepared for races in Sydney and Melbourne.

Schweida had been looking at the Missile Stakes at Randwick for Better Than Ready’s first spring run but the horse was in the spelling paddock when Sweet Idea won on Saturday.

The now four-year-old came back from injury to win both his Brisbane starts in November and then ran fourth behind the world’s number one sprinter, Lankan Rupee, in the Group Two Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield in February.

Schweida had planned to start him in the Group One Oakleigh Plate but Better Than Ready was sent for a spell after injuring his hoof.

“It has been one thing after another with him. He even put himself into a fence at Doomben earlier in his career,” Schweida said.

“But he is ready to go back into pre-training on the water walker at Washpool Lodge. The spring is too soon and the thing I have to decide is whether to bring him back for our summer sprint races.

“The other option is to give him a really long rest and prepare for the Melbourne and Sydney autumn next year.”

Better Than Ready has won eight of his 16 starts and prizemoney in excess of $484,000. He showed his class as an early three-year-old when he broke the 1200m record at Randwick in the Brian Crowley Stakes.

Another talented sprinter, General Jackson, is likely to do the remainder of his racing in Victoria after again hanging off the track at Eagle Farm in the Jade Open (1000m) on Saturday.

General Jackson originally raced in Queensland but had been with Mick Price in Melbourne for several months, winning races at Moonee Valley and Morphettville in Adelaide.

He returned home last month for a fourth at Caloundra but hung badly at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Trainer Mick Mair indicated General Jackson was likely to return to Victoria and anti-clockwise racing.

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Winnners keep coming for Liam Birchley

Liam Birchley’s stable has been depleted in recent times with four of his promising young horses sold to Hong Kong.

But it hasn’t slowed the popular trainer who likes to travel his horses and has produced two smart three-year-old winners in the past week.

Gun Case went to Coffs Harbour during the week and came away a winner while Headwater Country scored at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

The two won recent Doomben trials and ran up to those impressive efforts with the wins.

Birchley had Gun Case entered for Eagle Farm last Wednesday but took the colt to Coffs Harbour where he strolled home in a maiden.

“Gun Case had already been to Sydney for his only other start. But I wanted to toughen him up a bit and get him used to travelling,” Birchley said.

“A trip in a float to Coffs Harbour helped him mature.”

Gun Case is now likely to return to Brisbane for some three-year-old races before a possible trip to the southern spring carnivals.

Headwater Country is also likely to stay in Brisbane after his impressive win in the Flight Centre Hcp (1000m).

The Snitzel gelding is much travelled having run at the Gold Coast, Randwick, Warwick Farm, Canberra and Wellington during his last campaign.

“The travel seems to have toughened him up and he has come back a stronger horse,” Birchley said.

Breeder Peter Marshall, who also owns Headwater Country, is building a strong tie with Birchley.

Headwater Country’s win also marked a resurgence by jockey Larry Cassidy who has finally thrown off injury problems to be back in form.

Cassidy had two winners and a second from his three rides at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

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Jockeys Tim Bell and Michael Cahill need only look at history to be reminded their battle for the Brisbane premiership could come down to the final race of the season.

Bell’s win on Mister Booze at Doomben on Saturday edged him past defending champion Cahill in the premiership race and he will go into the final meeting of the season on Wednesday leading 57-56.

The premiership battle has been the highlight of Brisbane racing in recent weeks and is reminiscent of the famous last day of the 1965-66 season.

Len Hill went into the day leading Skeeter Sanders by two wins and thought he had the premiership in his keeping when he rode a double.

But Sanders rode four of the last five winners to draw level and share the title.

It was the closest Brisbane title on record but it is rare for the jockeys premiership to be anything but a one-way street.

Since that famous battle 49 years ago there have been no more draws and only two titles have been decided by one win.

Both Bell and Cahill have six scheduled rides at Eagle Farm.

The metropolitan title wasn’t the only Queensland premiership to go down to the wire.

Jim Byrne rode the last winner at Ipswich on Friday to claim the coal city’s premiership with 24 wins, one in front of Cahill and Bell.

Skye Bogenhuber rode a treble to beat Brooke Stower by three for the Toowoomba title after they went into the Saturday night meeting locked at 26-1/2 each.

Travis Wolfgram easily won the Gold Coast title while Damian Browne was the leading jockey at the Sunshine Coast.

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Leading Brisbane apprentice Tegan Harrison has been given the nod to continue her association with Temple Of Boom during his Spring Carnival campaign.

Tegan Harrison will ride Temple Of Boom during the Spring Carnival.

Tegan Harrison will ride Temple Of Boom during the Spring Carnival. Photo by Daniel Costello.

Harrison was the regular rider for Temple Of Boom during the Brisbane Winter Carnival and the pair came so close to pulling off a remarkable Group 1 double with photo finish seconds in the $650,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben and the $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm.

Eagle Farm trainer Tony Gollan, soon to be crowned the Brisbane’s leading trainer for the first time, has booked Harrison to ride Temple Of Boom in the Spring in preference to securing a top Melbourne jockey as has been the case in past southern campaigns.

“She has never ridden interstate for me but she is going great and I think she deserves her chance to go down there now,” Gollan told The Courier-Mail.

“I don’t really want to put a Melbourne jockey on Temple Of Boom and the owners are really good with that sort of stuff.

“Temple has been running really well for Tegan. He is eight years old next week yet he will go to Melbourne in the best winter form of his life.”

Even though Harrison missed out on collecting her first Group 1 victory, she was able steer Temple Of Boom to a Group 2 win when the seven year old caused a huge upset in beating the more fancied stablemate Spirit Of Boom in the $175,000 Greenslopes Private Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm at the beginning of the Winter Carnival.

But Spirit Of Boom was able to reverse the placings in the Doomben10000 in a tight photo finish before Temple Of Boom ran second to Sunshine Coast sprinter River Of Lad by the smallest of margins in the Stradbroke Handicap.

“I can’t fault Tegan for getting beaten in the Stradbroke, he ran great, and no-one would have thought he could run that well in the Stradbroke,” Gollan said.

Gollan has selected the Group 3 $150,000 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) up the Flemington straight on September 13 as Temple Of Boom’s Spring Carnival pipe opener, a race the rising eight year old has run in twice before, including a second placing last year to Speediness.

“Temple knows the straight very well and he will be the perfect horse for her to ride in her first straight race in Melbourne. She will enjoy it,” Gollan said.

Gollan will then aim Temple Of Boom towards the Group 1 $450,000 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26 and then the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.

Harrison has been riding in great form of late and has quickly developed into one of the leading jockeys in Brisbane and with two metropolitan meetings to go before the end of the season is lying in fifth position on the jockey’s premiership table with forty-three winners.

She will join the senior riding ranks at the beginning of the new racing season in August after wrapping up her second apprentice’s title.


Story courtesy of


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