PROUD PRESIDENT: Calliope Jockey Club president Jim Neill-Ballantine. PICTURE: Judith Hughes
PROUD PRESIDENT: Calliope Jockey Club president Jim Neill-Ballantine. PICTURE: Judith Hughes

Gold Cup is more than just a horse race

HORSE RACING: Fingers crossed but it looks like the Calliope Jockey Club’s postponed Boxing Day races rescheduled until Saturday will come up a big winner.

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That is unquestionable “on paper” with some 47 of the 52 race entries from a sparse area of Queensland being declared runners for the five-race card which offers $50K in stakes.

As well 11 jockeys, a number virtually unheard of at Calliope race meetings for many years, will service the race day with gates opening around 11am.

Nobody could begrudge success to the enthusiastic, resilient and dedicated volunteers who put on the races at Calliope where the 108th Gold Cup will be staged at 3.56pm on Saturday.

The 2018 Boxing Day races were abandoned because of weather related conditions and then when all was set to go for the 2019 annual Boxing Day races some 40ml of rain washed them out on Christmas night.

It well may have been a blessing in disguise as the revamped dirt and drought starved track has regenerated with grass shoots appearing following remedial works performed by curator Bob Lisle and his happy helpers.

The opening race, the Ironmonger Shipping Class 3 Plate (1000m) has lured horses from Dalby, Bundaberg, Roma, Thangool, Mackay, Bluff and Rockhampton so the form is going to be hard to equate.

The Wayne Baker and Roma trained Ivy Lane (Paul Randall) looks suitably placed from Dalby’s Red Devil and Rockhampton’s dual recent winner Koby’s Tragedy.

Prolific trainer of winners, Mackay’s John Manzelmann has strong representation on Saturday afternoon.

The Manzelmann trained Sweet Surprise to be ridden by former South African and Mauritius based jockey Girish Goomany looks the winner of the $8000 Rayment Excavations Open Plate (1000m).

Last start Sweet Surprise was runner-up at Callaghan Park in Rockhampton behind top flight young sprinter Master Jamie.

The form that race, a 1200 metres Open Handicap was franked there last Wednesday when fourth placed Mamselle Corday came out and won the main race.

Manzelmann’s ultra-consistent provincial race performer Rockethead holds all the aces in the $7450 Calliope Central Bowls Club Class B (1072m) run at 3.17pm.

Perfectly drawn from the inside gate Rockethead looks the winner from Only Emma who will need luck aplenty from the awkward draw at gate 10.

The $10K Calliope Traders Gold Cup (1608m) is a Bobbie-Dazzler of a field but if all goes to plan a previous winner of the race in Rockhampton trainer Geoff Elliot’s Ruffy Road could prevail again.

There is entertainment including a jumping castle for kids, Fashions on the Filed for young and old and much more at Calliope races on Saturday.

If ever a race club deserves the support of its community it is the Calliope Jockey Club who are unselfishly putting on the show for the wider community and what a show it should be.

See you there for what promises to be a great day of racing and family fun – Tony McMahon.