Rising jockey challenging big guns
JOCKEY Matt McGillivray showed in Ipswich why he is one of the rising talents of the Queensland riding ranks.
At last Wednesday's meeting, McGillivray managed to win with the Robert Heathcote trained Foxy Affair.
A couple of seasons following completion of his apprenticeship, McGillivray continues to ride winners.
In a stirring finish, there was just a nose margin as Foxy Affair nailed Courageous Rock on the line in the Landmark Leaders 1690 metres Class 4 Handicap.
In winning, McGillivray nosed out multiple Ipswich Premiership winner Jim Byrne as well as interrupting the streak of the indomitable Jeff Lloyd.
Lloyd had ridden the previous two winners on the card.
Lloyd rode another winner soon after for a return of a winning treble.
Lloyd has already this season scooted five wins ahead of Byrne, Jim Orman, Micheal Hellyer and Luke Dittman who are all on three wins apiece.
However, Lloyd has indicated his intention to retire in November.
He would need a huge lead at that time in order to maintain top billing until the end of the season.
That is in July end next year.
Lloyd's three winners on Wednesday were aboard Smartypy for trainer Chris Munce, Fionnlagh for Ben Currie, and The Mechanic for David Vandyke.
The Mechanic made it three wins and a second from four Ipswich starts, confirming his preference for the Ipswich surface.
Two of those wins have been in the current season helping Vandyke to remain atop of the Trainer's Premiership ladder with four wins.
The victories for each of Robert Heathcote and Chris Munce on Wednesday moved that pair of trainers just one behind Vandyke in equal second position.
Ben Currie moved on to the current season Ipswich board with the win of Fionnlagh.
Curried quickly doubled that tally when Snitch won later in the day with apprentice Michael Murphy aboard.
Track work gaining momentum
THE latest Ipswich Racecourse renovations are underway.
Track staff are feverishly working on scarification and sand distribution across the course, with a long-term aim of returning cushion to the surface.
These works will however not affect the track for Friday's meeting.
Current works are only out 10 metres from the rail true position - the point where the false rail is for the race meeting this week.
There is an additional race programmed for this Friday after the Gold Coast wash out on the weekend.
This is over 2150 metres giving a total of eight now programmed for Friday.
Spring carnival excitement builds
THERE are two-state Group 1 races this weekend as the Spring Carnival gets well under way.
In Sydney, there is the George Main Stakes.
In Melbourne, the Makybe Diva Stakes features Spring hopefuls including Caulfield and Melbourne Cup entrants one by one making a return to the track.
Gallopers showing good form with an eye on the big Spring Melbourne races include Humidor, Kings Will Dream, and of course Winx.
The top sprinters of the land include last year's winner and current favourite Redzel, heading for the Everest in Sydney.
Many international gallopers are still making their way through quarantine hurdles as they aim up for the Melbourne Cup.
Only the Oaks winning mare Unforgotten is Australian bred and raced among the top 20 in the betting for the big race on the first Tuesday in November.
The following week is the Golden Rose Stakes in Sydney and the Rupert Clarke Stakes in Melbourne.
Those races are prior to a Super Saturday at Randwick on the footy grand finals week-end at the end of September.
Ipswich racing continues with two Friday meetings this week and the following week (September 21).
The AGM race day on Wednesday, September 26 completes the monthly program at Ipswich.