By Rockhampton Jockey Club CEO Ian Mill
Hi there again everyone, well Spring is well and truly in the air.
As you would be aware, Saturday, 16 October brings to fruition the Rockhampton Jockey Club’s biggest race meeting on our annual calendar.
It is of course the St Peter’s School Caulfield Cup Race Day and Callaghan Park racecourse will be a maze of colour, fashion and vibrancy.
There are many new features this year for the annual spectacular, which came about around 30 years ago as a tool for fundraising for Rockhampton’s St Peter’s Catholic School.
Such is its success that the race meeting has, shall we say, become rather iconic with young people and those young at heart going all out to make it an annual must attend event.
The meeting will feature extra food outlets including the team from F’n’J Food as well as a few novelties pop-up shops.
These include the barbers from Groom Barbershop and the team will be in operation ensuring that fashionable males can pop in and get the latest comb and cut.
Well I’m not really up to the latest hair fashion among the men but our leading local jockey Ashley Butler swears by Miguel and his team and is one of their best customers.
Thanks must also go to Miguel and Groom Barbershop for its sponsorship of a $200 voucher for the best-dressed gent track-side on Saturday.
Gratitude also goes out to Ramsay Pharmacy for its sponsorship as well for the ladies.
Another first for Callaghan Park, Ramsay Pharmacy will also be track-side with a pop-up perfume and make-up station.
One of the highlights for St Peter’s Day is the Fashions on the Field.
There are categories galore here that have been well advertised with some enviable prizes on offer for the winners.
The Rocks Bar and Restaurant Yeppoon are the major sponsors in the fashions and they will be something to behold.
The club is also most appreciative of the sponsorship from Oshen Holiday Apartments, Yeppoon.
Central Queensland women are renowned for their fashions and that will be on display on Saturday.
In next week’s column, I’ll be able to report back on what should be a great afternoon of racing and social activities at Callaghan Park.
Next Saturday, 23 October, marks the commencement of juvenile (2YO) racing in the Central and North Queensland districts.
The Townsville Turf Club gets the ball rolling with divisions of the Pallarenda Stakes for colts and geldings and the fillies.
Over the years Rockhampton ‘babies’ have a fine record in these races.
Last year the Kevin Hansen-trained, and the Walker family-owned, Sweet Dolly commenced her unbeaten roll by talking out the fillies division of the Pallarenda Stakes (1000m).
Next Saturday the same connections, including jockey Justin Stanley, have a degree of confidence that lightning may strike twice by winning the 2021 division with the filly Heroic Angel.
The Walkers paid $70,000 for the Heroic Valour-Sonador Angel filly at the March MM Gold Coast Yearling Sales.
Heroic Angel’s mum Sonador Angel is a half-sister to Sweet Dolly hence the reason the Walkers were so keen to purchase her.
Stanley, who has been out from a knee reconstruction for about six months, plans to make his return to racing aboard Heroic Angel.
Along with all Central Queensland racing followers may I extend the very best of luck to trainer Kevin Hansen, the Walkers and of course Justin Stanley.
The Rockhampton Jockey Club kicks off its two-year-old racing season on Friday, 5 November with two divisions of the time-honoured Breeders Plate (1050m).
That day is going to be a huge program of racing with nine – yes that is right nine races programmed with almost $250,000 in prize money on offer.
That is huge money and the RJC is proud to be able to offer those massive stakes.
Our next race meeting after St Peter’s is Thursday, 28 October.
The racing industry is very much an inter-woven one which relies on the co-operation and success of nearby located race clubs.
In the Capricornia region this is ever so true.
Naturally, horses that race at RJC meetings also take part at race meetings conducted by other clubs in CQ.
Our great friends from the Yeppoon Turf Club host one of Keppel Park’s best attended race meetings on Saturday, 30 October.
This meeting coincides with the VRC Derby in Flemington and as such Derby Day races at Yeppoon attract a bumper crowd,
You don’t need me to tell you but Keppel Park racecourse is located amid natural landscape and is so picturesque.
I urge you to keep the date in mind – Saturday, 30 October to get along for a very relaxed day’s racing.
Not forgetting of course, the Gladstone Turf Club races at Ferguson Park racecourse on Saturday, 23 October, Moonee Valley Cox Plate Day.
Racing at Gladstone always attracts a big crowd of fashion-conscious racegoers.
The amenities and betting ring and facilities are built up on a mound which allows for a unique form of viewing for the local races that are run up close.
If you haven’t taken the trip down to Gladstone races, I am sure you would enjoy the occasion.
Finally, how good it was to see former Callaghan Park trainer and retired jockey Mick Attard cheer home a winner from his Westmead, Sydney Hospital bed last weekend.
Mick was almost killed when double barrelled (dual back legs kick) by one of his horses two months ago.
He faces a long stint in hospital, where he remains after three operations and Mick cannot take solids (food) or drink by mouth.
That will not change until Mick undergoes another operation next March.
Anyhow, last Sunday Mick had the nursing staff running to his bed mistaking his cheering for something sinister.
The reason, Mick was cheering home his Hawkesbury winner Borsalina ($31.00).
His wife Sharon and former jockey Lee, both well known in Rockhampton, have been putting in the hard yards with the Attard team while Mick is hospital bound.
There is no better medicine that a winner so it was so pleasing for the Attard team to produce their first Sydney provincial winner since leaving Rockhampton less than two years ago to be closer to family.
Looking forward to reporting to you all again next week.