Racing has returned to Emerald’s Pioneer Park. Photo: Claudia Baxter
Racing has returned to Emerald’s Pioneer Park. Photo: Claudia Baxter

Emerald race day sends galloper to Country Cup finals

RACING returned to the Emerald Jockey Club after a hiatus to remediate the grass on the course.

A mixture of hard work from track curator Mick Calvert and some well needed rain served up a tab quality track.

The day included a path to Country Cups for Tracey Simmons, who will line up with Central Highlands Cup qualifier winner Proane in the $105,000 Country Cups final at Doomben on December 5.

Proane was too good for them in the Central Highlands Cup qualifier at Pioneer Park last Friday, coming off a hot pace to beat a strong field, with the two locally trained gallopers Le Dude and Twinspier running big races to fill the placegetter stalls.

The eight-year-old gelding was coming off a very tidy third placing in the Yeppoon Cup on October 31, suggesting the Simmons-trained galloper was cherry-ripe for the country cup heat and was ridden to perfection by Sonja Wiseman.

The Mackay trainer was quietly confident of her runner’s chances leading into the feature race, which had been a long-term goal for connections.

“This has been the target race for six to eight months,” Simmons said.

“The old fella is going very well, especially after todays effort. He has pulled up a treat and now has his radar calibrated towards the $105,000 country cups final.

“We couldn’t be happier with him.”

Simmons went on to explain it had taken some time to get ready for the race, citing race programming due to COVID-19.

“He is a bit of a quirky old gelding and is a horse that has always possessed a lot of ability but we have had to be patient,” she said.

“The western Galloper‘s Bollente and Mount Isa galloper Deadly Choices are the two to beat.”

In other news across the region, racing heads to Clermont on November 21, with Clermont Race Club led by Billy Bell hosting the last meeting of 2020 at Pepperina Park.

A capacity sold out crowd will be on hand for a top day of racing with local jockey Emma Bell boasting a strike rate of close to 30 per cent, she is still the one the punters will be following.