Strong racing on Downs

Warwick and other local meetings are looking strong at the moment.

What to make of the weekend’s racing?

Jimmysstar is a star. Ciaron Maher has a very good horse on his hands. Jimmy’s first up win at Caulfield was very impressive, great turn of foot, and exudes class. He will be a force in the autumn.

Waterhouse and Bott seem to have a mortgage on the Golden Slipper at this stage with the favourite and a likely seven starters. Their two-year-olds Prost and Lady Camelot cleaned up the two black types at Rosehill.

To my old eyes Matt Laurie’s two-year-old Coleman looked the goods in winning in the Chairman’s Stakes at Caulfield and is a real chance in the upcoming Blue Diamond.

Interestingly, there hasn’t been the usual posse of good Godolphin two-year-olds to date.

I didn’t miss the successful plonk on Cosmic Lad at Newcastle last Saturday. Backed in from $19 to $3.60 favourite. Those plunges are few and far between these days, but clearly still possible. Just wish I had got on.

While racing out in the more western areas of the state has been slow due to heat and time of the year, the Darling Downs circuit including Toowoomba night, Dalby, Warwick and Gatton have been very strong over the summer.

Warwick racing has gone from strength to strength over the last 18 months with consistently big fields, good crowds and decent TAB  turnover. Gundy is set to get back into racing on 24 February.

The hot and humid weather is causing a lot of upheaval on Queensland racing schedules. Only last week the Gatton meeting was transferred a day because of extreme heat, Emerald’s meeting was abandoned due to humidity, and the scheduled Doomben Wednesday meeting was transferred to

last Thursday. I would hazard a guess that the incidence of heart arrhythmia in horses would be on the up.

Toowoomba trainer Pat Webster is quietly making his mark in SEQ racing, training lots of winners. In fact he has a current 20 per cent winners to runners’ ratio. Originally a part time trainer and a builder by trade in the St George District, he made the move to Toowoomba as a full-time trainer three years ago. His horses are always well turned out and perform consistently. Definitely a trainer to follow.

Didn’t miss the recent win of Ilfracombe Kid trained by Brisbane trainer Desleigh Forster, originally herself from Ilfracombe. Her father, also a horse trainer in the Central West was in the ownership of the horse. 

Money and fame aren’t everything. At Randwick (Kensington Course) last Wednesday the $2.5m colt Railway Man was a flop at his first start. While Dale, owned by the Hollywood movie star Matt Damon, finished even further back in the same race.

Recently checked out the ownership of a lot of the flash expensive two-year-olds having their first start in the city. Beyond the billionaire outfits like Godolphin, Coolmore and Yulong who have unlimited funds, the stallion syndicates have become a very big deal in Australia, many hunting in packs and buying say a tenth share in 10 different yearling colts. There are four to five of these syndicates operating across all the major sales. Often for an all-up cost of anywhere between $1-$1.5m per individual owner. Not quite the biscuit tin stash!

The names that keep appearing in the race book are Wyanus, Poulin, Carpe Diem, Westerberg,Woppit Bloodstock, Yarraman Stud, Nick Vass, Peachester Lodge, Newgate Stud, Go Bloodstock, Kia Ora Stud, China Horse Club, Aristia, TFI, G1G, Triology, Paramount etc. A different game to the old days. These colt syndicates might buy as many as 25-30 colts across all the main sales spreading their risk and hoping to jag a superstar that can bring as much as $50m for a stallion prospect. Bit like a Lotto win!

No less than seven of Australia’s best jockeys are riding at Sha Tin. Last Sunday Zac Purton, Hugh Bowman, James McDonald and Brenton Avdulla all had rides. They are being joined by Rachel King, Ben Thompson and Michael Dee. The money is so huge in Hong Kong, the top Aussie and Kiwi jocks find it too hard to resist.

“Paddy, there is a problem with the tractor,“ said Mick.

“Why what’s wrong with it?”

“There is water in the carburettor and the hand brake doesn’t work,” replied Mick

“That’s ridiculous, Mick it’s just had its service,” replied Paddy.

“I am telling you there IS water in the carburettor! And the hand brake is useless”

“I will go and check it myself. Where is the tractor?” replied Paddy

“In the creek!”