Rocky jockey wins big at Winter Racing Carnival
ON AN afternoon of first class racing under the canopy of idyllic weather conditions, the Rockhampton Winter Racing Carnival galloped off to a vibrant start last Saturday.
A crowd in excess of 1100 racegoers swarmed Callaghan Park racecourse delighting both the Rockhampton Jockey Club and organisers from the Girls Grammar School.
"I had positive feedback from everyone I spoke to. The Girls Grammar team were thrilled by the popularity of their on-course functions. As well the Chanel Luncheon in The Members was fantastically received. All you could say in summing up was that it was a good day all round,” RJC CEO Tony Fenlon reported.
Heavyweight Rochampton jockey Ashley Butler, 27 would have certainly agreed given he rode a winning treble.
Butler's trio, his best bag at Callaghan Park since landing the last four consecutive race winners there on October 2, 2015, came once again in consecutive order.
These were Natalie Mc Call's Redstone ($3.80) ; Joshua Manzelmann's Art Nouveau ($5.50) and Garnett Taylor's Bold Zip ($4.00).
Butler, a gifted talent who started race riding at 15 rose to the top in Central Queensland before relocating to Brisbane carving a successful niche.
His nemesis, increasing weight brought him back to Rockhampton some seasons ago where he shot to the top of Rockhampton's jockey ladder.
A horror fall at Townsville in May last year almost ended his career through being sidelined for many months while his weight escalated.
"I've been back (riding) for a few months now and am just beginning to feel right again. I got my weight down to 57.5kg on Saturday and it was the lightest I have been in months,” Butler confessed.
Saturday's win by Taylor's Bold Zip ended a fairy tale week being nothing short of remarkable for him by winning four QTIS bonus races within the week for the same owners.
Garnett won the rich Townsville 2YO Classic on June 8 with Bold Eos snaring $70,250 in winning stakes. Two days later at Cairns the Taylor trained Cleary family owned Bold Style and Bold Xavvi both won, bagging another $37K in prize money.
That added to Bold Zip's winning purse of $16,500 from Rocky on Saturday makes it a cool $124,750 for the week which is unheralded given all the circumstances and locations involved from Taylor's mainstay Sunshine Coast base.
Taylor's widely travelled successes have been well orchestrated, given he purchased "stay over” stables in Rockhampton some months ago thereby to set his Northern QTIS raids in motion.
Rockhampton Ricky Vale brilliantly tailored the extension of Mr Attitude's winning streak when that gelding was defiant in an all-the-way win at his first open company attempt on the 1400 metres Handicap circuit.
Bouncing straight to the front, Mr Attitude provided stylish Gold Coast jockey Chris Whiteley with his 59th season winner while making it four in succession for himself.
It was Mr Attitude 's seventh win from 10 starts since joining the astute Vale's yard just a few months back Vale is stuck between a rock and a hard place in planning out Mr Attitude's next start.
"The Mackay Newmarket (1300m) on July 13 has always been his goal. His BM rating is borderline now to making that field. If I run him before and he happens to miss a place his BM rating will drop and then he would probably not make the Mackay field. The Mackay lead-up assuring eligibility for the Newmarket is only over 1050m two weeks before and that is silly programming. I don't know what to do with him (Mr Attitude) right now,” Vale said.
Bundaberg trainer Darryl Gardiner knows exactly what he will do with Mr Phenomenal who also continued his winning dominance at Callaghan Park.
"The Rocky Carnival has come about a bit too quickly for him this year but I believe he could be a Rocky Cup horse next year,” Gardiner said.
In winning the BM 69 (1200m) Gardiner's Mr Phenomenal made it six wins from his past nine starts A self confessed workaholic, Gardiner 64 , has cut his Bundaberg team from 28 horses to eight of which he still rides six track work each morning.
"I shoe them all as well but it was just a case of work, work, work and drive, drive, drive to race meetings. It is much better right now with just the eight I can tell you,” Darryl said.
He feels next season Mr Phenomenal will run out the 1600m of the Rocky Cup just as his earlier successor Victory Hotel did in the same race in 2015.