Central Highlands' horses line up for race
NEXT weekend's Capricornia yearling sales and racing carnival will feature 104 yearlings to go under the hammer on Sunday, April 14.
The two-day racing carnival will see $500,000 in prize money distributed with the feature race being the $125,000 for QTIS registered runners in the Capricornia Yearling Sales 2YO Classic run on day two of the carnival.
The field is likely to be the strongest in more than 30 years, with 11 individual winners competing.
Former Emerald boy and premier Rockhampton trainer Tommy Button could line up with as many as five runners in the rich Capricornia Yearling Sale.
Buttons' runners are Flying Crackerjak, Pound For Pound, The Stockbroker, Woohoo Girl and Poetic Pete, who is still yet to qualify to make the field.
Pound for Pound is raced by the Sparrow family from Alpha, who could be set for a six-figure pay day with their QTIS eligible gelding.
One race which is sure to be a big drawcard at next weekend's carnival is a Central Queensland Battle of the Bush style race on Friday. Non-TAB country participants are being targeted to bring their horses.
The feature race on the first day of the carnival is the Benchmark 65 Handicap over 1500 metres.
The country cup is restricted to gallopers that have faced the starter on a minimum of three occasions on the non-TAB country circuit over the 2018-19 season. The event will carry prize money of $25,000.
Rockhampton Jockey Club has added an extra incentive for trainers - if their runner has won at a non-TAB venue after March 1, the winner's prize money will be doubled from $14,000 to $28,000 for first prize.
Longreach trainer Mark Oates has indicated he will line up with Longreach galloper Our Beatnik who is a last start winner on the Barcaldine turf track.
The former Chris Waller-trained gelding is eligible for the $28,000 first prize money.
The 1376 kilometre trek to Rockhampton over the Drummond range for Oates could prove his biggest collect as a trainer and as the sole owner of Our Beatnik.
Todd Austin from Barcaldine also has Stylish Luck qualified for the double prize money bonanza, along with Bill Trimble from Bluff who will line up with recent Emerald winner Spare Ticket.
Rockhampton Jockey Club has also contributed a $5000 cash bonus to be paid to the winning trainer of the feature 2YO Classic, providing it is a filly.
Sales conveyor Jeff Leaver said it would be a great weekend away for all Central Queensland country folk after the recent rains in the Central Highlands and the Central West and promised a great weekend of racing and entertainment with the chance to saddle up the winner of the 2YO Classic in 2020.
He said there are several lots that will bring plenty of attention but Lot 101 should be interesting after Kiamichi's Golden Slipper win, with the colt's stallion being from Emerald racing identity Dan Fletcher's Telemon stud.
Fletcher's stallion Sidestep's service fee went from $7700 to $21,000 overnight after Kiamichi's Golden Slipper win and Leaver thinks the lot will bring strong bidding.
Local trainer Glenda Bell has her stable star Fastnet Flyer tuned up well and truly for a tilt at the rich North Queensland cups circuit over the winter carnival after a slashing second up third placing at Callaghan Park in Rockhampton, behind Rockhampton Newmarket contender Drum Beats Choice ($6).
Fastnet Flyer ($31), ridden by heavyweight jockey Brad Pengully with a big weight of 60.5 kilograms, put the writing on the wall that the July 13 Mackay Cup is on the eight-year-old gelding's radar.
Tomorrow Dan and Rae Fletcher's three-year-old filly Starlight lines up at Royal Randwick for the time-honoured $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes, taking on Australia's best sprinters.
She has drawn barrier 11 and will be ridden by Luke Currie.
Starlight is an $8 chance to take out the feature sprint on the first day of the Champions Carnival.