Horse trainer Kevin Hansen with Lota Creek Gold.
Horse trainer Kevin Hansen with Lota Creek Gold. Chris Ison ROK220318chorse2

Horse Racing: 'Horses do have long memories'

WHILE horsemen worldwide have long known it and science has subsequently confirmed it to be true, horses do have long memories.

Rockhampton trainer Kevin Hansen saw it with his own eyes when his old mate "Lota” stepped off the float at his North Rockhampton stables just before noon last Saturday.

"It was just like Lota hadn't left the place. He walked off the float had a good look around and then we led him inside the stable yard. He didn't need any coaxing as he walked straight back into the box where he had always been stabled up here. Actually I would have sworn he had a twinkle in his eye,” Hansen said with a wink.

"It's as if he hadn't been away but it had been 10 months,” Kevin stepped in to tell me in case I was a dunce at maths.

After being educated by and having trained and raced from Hansen's Princess St dormitory, Lota Creek Gold headed off to the Gold Coast seeking fame and fortune early that September of last year.

By golly the dapper looking grey Instinction lad from Rocky achieved both goals for his local owners, winning four times, including once in Brisbane and lining their pockets with well over "a hundred grand”.

Owners Joe Ireland, Mike Rowe and Richard Featherstone always nurtured a dream that "Lota” had a good race win in him but never thought that could be a Rockhampton Cup.

In shrewd racing wise veteran Gold Coast trainer Harold Norman, the Rocky boys found a believer who has the utmost faith in Lota Creek Gold.

Norman coached former sprinter Lota Creek Gold to "stay” by tinkering with the likes of bridles and bits and track work regimes.

Whatever the reason, Lota Creek Gold is now the real deal, winning up to 1800 metres.

"He arrived from Kevin (Hansen) in magnificent order when he first got here (Gold Coast) so I had something to work on. I really think there are Cup wins in Lota Creek Gold and he will get his chance in some of those Northern Cups.

"Anyhow, I have always told the boys (owners) that they will have a really good horse on their hands next preparation,” Norman said.

Joe Ireland, who floated Lota Creek Gold back from the Gold Coast said Elyce Smith had been engaged for the $150,000 Rockhampton Cup (1600m) ride on Saturday week.

While ladies man Lota Creek Gold will be strutting his good looks and galloping gait on the Callaghan Park track that day, I dare say he would love to be watching the Fashions on the Field unfold.

Under the banner of the major sponsor Phil Peel Jewellers (PPJ) some $7000 in prizes is there to be won.

Generously, PPJ has contributed $4000 in total prize coupons for distribution in the categories of Classic Ladies; Contemporary Ladies; Milliner and Men's.

A good viewing point for the Cup Day races and fashions will be the inner Grandstand area at Callaghan Park.

"Bookings are essential at $100 per person ($75 Members) which covers racecourse entry; race book; reserved table; complimentary drink on arrival; finger food buffet (12.30 -1.30pm) with TAB and a bookmaker operating”, RJC CEO Tony Fenlon said.

Nominations for both the Rocky Newmarket meeting (July 5) and Cup meeting the next day, close at 11am next Monday.

Racing Queensland has stressed upon trainers to ensure they familiarise themselves with new deadline schedules for nominations and race acceptances which come into effect Queensland wide from July 1.

- Tony McMahon