GREAT SEASON: Premier jockey Justin Stanley rode a staggering 104 provincial winners for the 2017-18 season.
GREAT SEASON: Premier jockey Justin Stanley rode a staggering 104 provincial winners for the 2017-18 season. Chris Ison ROK280515crace6

Stanley leads the charge as new season gallops in

A NEW season of racing gallops into action at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park racecourse today and all the major players from last season will be assembled for the commencement of season 2018-19.

Leading the charge will be premier jockey Justin Stanley who annexed all his previous records by not only winning the Rockhampton jockey's premiership but also the Australian-wide provincial title.

Justin rode a staggering 104 provincial winners for the 2017-18 season claiming the national title from his close friend and arch racetrack rival Nathan Day in second place on 73 winners.

Both have busy books of rides this afternoon with Stanley's best looming as the Graeme Green trained Taraki (TAB 6) in the second race.

So too does premier apprentice Elyce Smith, back from winning a rich QTIS 2YO Handicap at Townsville last Saturday on the Lyle Rowe trained Legal Ties.

Smith has a full book of seven rides and she should strike early courtesy of the Ricky Vale trained Lucky Clover (TAB 5) in the opening race at 12.48pm.

Leading trainer Tom Button claimed his third RJC trainer's title last season and he will saddle-up five starters at this afternoon's races.

Button's Rusty Scooter (TAB 7) in Race 6 looks an excellent each-way prospect for the stable.

Heartbreak Harry and Deconstructed, two of the "war horses” in the Button stable, have been entered to contest the $50,000 Cairns Newmarket (1400m) in that northern city on Saturday.

Heartbreak Harry charging home to win in the big smoke (Doomben) Brisbane on Saturday.
Heartbreak Harry will start in the $50,000 Cairns Newmarket (1400m) on Saturday. Contributed

Heartbreak Harry looms as a very real chance of winning following his super fourth behind Grey Missile in last Saturday's $100K Cleveland Bay Handicap (1300m) at Townsville.

Leading Leichardt region trainer John Manzelmann has no fewer than 31 of the total entries of 43 horses for Saturday's 30th Anniversary Middlemount races.

Starting horses en-masse on race days is nothing new to the East Mackay based Manzelmann nor for that matter is the complete domination of an individual race.

It seems unlikely than Manzelmann will supply the whole field for any one individual race at Middlemount but he has claimed that feat previously.

At a Mackay TAB race meeting on May 12, 2014 John Manzelmann supplied the complete field of nine starters in a Maiden Handicap (1200m).

Middlemount is gearing for a massive meeting with interest in the annual race day unprecedented throughout the Coalfields area.

"The weather forecast for Saturday looks good with a maximum temperature of 28 degrees and a minimum of 11. Everything is shaping well for the day and we have catered for a big crowd with entertainment to suit all ages,” the club's Bill Gray said.

Callaghan Park trainer John Wigginton has both Annie's Our Hero and French Hussler entered for the giant nine race program at Doomben in Brisbane on Saturday.

French Hussler turned eyes when he stormed home late for a closing second to Ekklestone in a BM 75 Handicap (1100m) at Callaghan Park last Tuesday week.

In Saturday's NMW Handicap (1200m), French Hussler has drawn favourably at barrier six with Brad Stewart engaged for the ride.

Fellow Rockhampton galloper Worthy Hero from the Jared Wehlow stable will contest the same race from a disadvantageous wide draw with Ron Stewart booked to ride.

Racing returns to Callaghan Park on Thursday, August 9, before the Gladstone Cup races on Saturday, August 11, followed by Keppel Park, Yeppoon, on Saturday, August 18.