More light shed on Rocky racetrack drama

The cause of a safety issue relating to a wet patch on the Callaghan Park course proper which

brought about the abandonment of last Saturday’s Rockhampton races has been resolved.

Rockhampton’s chief steward Josh Adams abandoned the remaining six races, more than an hour after the first race was run, after a report by some jockeys who rode in the race over a section of track near the 250 metres in the straight.

Initial reports cited the possible cause from an irrigation spray hitting the running rail at this point with water streaming off and causing the patch to form.

Rockhampton Jockey Club CEO Tony Fenlon reported on Wednesday that after extensive examinations, a blocked underground drainage pipe meant that water could not get away.

“We spent two days with experts with all the latest technology and instruments using X-Ray equipment and special cameras,” Fenlon said.

“Our biggest concern was that as the track section still had not dried out on Sunday, it could have meant that there may have been a broken irrigation pipe.

“Anyhow it was eventually determined that a drainage pipe was blocked and now this has been rectified. We had a horse gallop over the section today (Wednesday) and the report from the jockey was fine and no concerns.”

However, to be assured that every precaution was taken to avoid any possible repetition of last

Saturday’s occurrence, a moveable rail will be in place to skirt the area for Saturday’s massive 10-race card.

Rockhampton Jockey Club CEO Tony Fenlon.
Rockhampton Jockey Club CEO Tony Fenlon.

In all, a whopping 151 nominations from near and far have been received with the feature races being the Rocky Amateurs Cup (1600m) and the Rocky Amateurs Open Sprint (1200m).

Both races have been well supported and carry prizemoney of $30k each.

Fenlon said the RJC would be running the meeting and as such, club members have access to

Callaghan Park free-of-charge while general admission is set at $10.

“RJC members will have access to the Members Lounge and the Rocky Amateurs grandstand lounge will be open to the public,” Fenlon said.

At Callaghan Park barrier trials last Monday, both Gypsy Toff and Better Reflection trialled

particularly well.

Gypsy Toff, formerly with Tom Button but now with Rockhampton’s Jamie McConachy led in a 900 metres heat and lasted to beat Better Reflection (John Stephens) narrowly.

Gypsy Toff was ridden by Tasha Chambers, who through injury has been off the race riding scene since last August but has been riding regularly in trials to regain full fitness before a return.

Rockhampton’s Tahlia Fenlon, indentured to Fred Smith, rode three trial winners, McConachy’s Last Of The Mohicans and Newshound, as well as her master’s Kashkar.

Meanwhile, outstanding Rockhampton sprinter Master Jamie continues to please Callaghan Park trainer Graeme Green in his build-up towards the $1.5m GR1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 12.

First-up on April 17, Master Jamie ran a splendid third in the Ascot Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm before being unsuited under Weight-For-Age conditions in the Victory Stakes (1200m) there on May 1.

Carrying 58.5kg, Master Jamie was trapped four wide at various stages in a speed battle and did extremely well to box on and only be beaten 4.6 lengths behind winner Niccanova.

“Its all systems go. He has done very well down there after that last start where he just had no luck in the running,” Green said.

Master Jamie has remained in Brisbane and is likely to next line-up in the GR3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 22.

MORE CQ RACING NEWS:

War of words erupts after Rocky races called off

CQ jockey suspended for striking horse 12 times before race

CQ galloper scores ‘fantastic’ win at Wagga