SERENE SCENE: This picture of a lone horse doing early morning track work at Callaghan Park is a far cry from the transformation the racecourse will undergo for today's Newmarket and tomorrow's Cup meetings where almost 200 horses will run.
SERENE SCENE: This picture of a lone horse doing early morning track work at Callaghan Park is a far cry from the transformation the racecourse will undergo for today's Newmarket and tomorrow's Cup meetings where almost 200 horses will run. Tony McMahon

Jockey Club CEO positive about racecourse's future

BOUYED by a record breaking Rockhampton Cup Calcutta Luncheon turnover yesterday, Rockhampton Jockey Club's CEO Tony Fenlon optimistically forecast that positive trend to continue at Callaghan Park racecourse over the next few days.

A superb eight race TAB card is scheduled for today with quality with a capital "Q” describing the composition of the field for the $100,000 XXXX Gold Rockhampton Newmarket (1300m).

It gets even better on Saturday, when a full compliment of 16 (plus one emergency) milers will chase the spoils of $150,000 on offer for the 101st running of the Rockhampton Cup.

The Cup purse is the richest ever run for after Rolad won the inaugural 500 pounds Rocky Cup on June 16, 1918.

On the criteria of class, the 2019 version is incomparable with forerunners as the 17 acceptors have won a total of $4,986,396 in stakes and 108 races in total.

They include last start Ipswich Cup winner Bergerac (Michael Murphy); Sunshine Coast Cup victor Balboa Rocks (Les Tilley); Tamworth Cup successor Unbiased (Ben Looker) as well as last year's Centenary Rockhampton Cup winner Mamselle Corday (Nathan Thomas).

The highest stakes earner in the Cup field is the Anderson Heathcote Racing's Cool Chap (Dale Smith) who has a tidy $717,525 alongside his name.

The weight of money at the RJC Calcutta function attended by 140 racing buffs was with Bergerac which topped the bidding at $6300.

"It was a hugely successful function and the Calcutta bids reached an all time high of $34,125. The win pool is $23,880; $6835 (2nd) and $3413 (3rd). The hype about our two days of Carnival Racing was magic and positive”, Fenlon said.

Gold Coast jockey Chris Whiteley has given punters a strong lead opting for Adrian Coome's genuine lightweight chance Poetic Heart (barrier 14) over Jim O'Shea's Spring Creek (2).

Looking to the skies after yesterday's function, where the weather and horses were the talking points, Fenlon after conferring with the Weather Bureau had this to say.

"I am going out on a limb here and am optimistic that we will not get much rainfall. Light rain yes but the local forecasts that I have been updated on are for what I describe as minimal falls”.

He said that the Callaghan Park racecourse complex was fortunate in having ample first class interior and undercover facilities for racegoers, whatever the weather.

Racing commences today at 12.22pm with the Newmarket, in which Monsieur Gustave is favoured, set for 4.42pm.

Tomorrow's Rocky Cup (3.54pm) program of racing starts at 12.08pm.