Classic additions boost for industry
THE positive news for the Queensland harness racing industry this week was confirmation the Changeover South East Oaks and Garrards South East Derby would be elevated this year.
While Racing Queensland had previously announced the TAB Queensland Constellations would not proceed due to COVID-19, the Classics will be upgraded to $50,000 apiece in 2020 and run at Group 2 level.
The Oaks will headline the Albion Park meeting on Saturday, July 11 before the Derby does likewise on Saturday, July 18.
“We’d expect the upgrades to the Oaks and Derby to be warmly welcomed by participants and punters alike,” Racing Queensland COO Adam Wallish said.
“In the absence of a traditional winter carnival, the opportunity to provide select feature racing, including the Oaks and Derby, will ensure Queensland remains in the national spotlight throughout June and July.”
Having recently taken over the reins at Albion Park, newly-appointed executive manager Scott Steele said the announcement was the result of working in partnership with their sponsors and RQ to deliver enhanced outcomes for industry participants.
“The club is grateful for the support of Garrards and RQ for turning the upgrades into reality,” Steele said.
“The club is excited to be working on plans with Racing Queensland for patrons to return to the racetrack in the future.”
Dual Group 1 winner confirmed
RACING Queensland’s decision to elevate the Oaks and the Derby has convinced one of New Zealand’s top trainers to try his hand at claiming the spoils.
The Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon-trained Dr Susan will contest the Oaks. Depending on how she fares against her own sex, the Bettor’s Delight filly could line up against the best three-year-old colts and geldings a week later in the Derby.
“We have met the interstate nomination deadline, and it makes sense for her to compete for good money in warm conditions which should suit her,” Dalgety said.
“She will be the only horse that we campaign up there this time, but the way Racing Queensland is progressing, we will come back again if we like it.”
Dr Susan, who made her race-day debut with a third at Alexandra Park in Auckland on January 18 last year, raced six times in New Zealand for four placings, before being exported to Australia on January 1 of this year.
“She’s a quality pacer, who should go okay around the Albion Park circuit,” Dalgety said.
“The 2,138m mobile should suit her, we might as well have a go since she’s over there.
“It’s time to spread our wings and try and bounce back from COVID-19; thankfully we have still been able to train our team on our property, but we have all gone a bit stir crazy all the same.
“We are slowly getting back into the rhythm now that harness racing is slowly making its comeback here, I couldn’t think of a better and warmer place to race in July.”
The addition of Dr Susan will add a lot of depth to the South East Oaks.
The talented brown filly has won eight of her 23 starts and placed in 13 others for $246,883.
Her two biggest victories to date have both come in Australia.
On January 25 this year, Dr Susan and Butt downed Stylish Memphis and Mark Purdon to win the Group 1 $85,000 Victoria Oaks Final at Tabcorp Park Melton.
Then on March 28 she was too smart in the Group 1 $150,000 Golden Bracelet Final at Bathurst.
The filly has also won a Group 2 event – the Raith Memorial at Tabcorp Menangle on January 11 - and placed in a Group 3 (Golden Easter Egg), also at Tabcorp Park Menangle at her last start on April 18.
David and Goliath strike QBRED glory
IT was a tale of David and Goliath at Albion Park for the QBRED Triad Finals.
For 45 years David Millard has toiled long and hard in search of an elusive Listed winner.
The 71-year-old Warwick horseman achieved that lifetime goal when the Mr Feelgood gelding he bred, owns and trains – Little Bolt – won the Listed $25,000 QBRED Triad Final for four-year-old entires and geldings.
“I’m still a bit speechless; I’ve had horses place in QBRED races a long time ago, but this is the icing on the cake,” Millard said.
“Shirley (wife) and I’ve waited such a long time for this, Andrew drove the horse an absolute treat.”
The night itself, however, would belong to record-breaking trainer, Grant Dixon.
The brilliant Mount Tamborine horseman won half of the QBRED races on offer, as well as the 2YO Colts and Geldings Consolation with the Paul Diebert-driven and the Solid Earth-owned and bred Captains Pick.
The winning Dixon quartet started in race two – the Listed QBRED Triad 4YO Mares final, where Dixon trained the quinella for the $25,000 event, but wasn’t in the bike for either.
Adam Sanderson sat in the one-one with Eternal Promise before getting out and pouncing down the back straight.
The daughter of Bettor’s Delight and As Promised had 5.2 metres to spare over stablemate, Goddess Jujon.
Three races later Dixon, and Fond Memories got the better his wife and stablemate, True Stepper in the Group 2 $50k QBRED Triad 3YO Fillies Final.
The daughter of Mach Three and Forever After sat in the one-one before pouncing late.
Fond Memories, who paid $3.20, is also owned and bred by Kevin and Kay Seymour and was her fourth win in 14 starts – all this season.
Dixon’s highlight of the evening came in the most prestigious race – the Group 2 $50k QBRED Triad 3YO Colts & Geldings Final, when the talented Governor Jujon cruised to an easy 3.9 metre victory.
Governor Jujon’s stakes earnings now sit close to $250,000, and it was yet another statement by this extremely gifted three-year-old pacer.
He stopped the clock in 2:34.5 (a mile rate of 1:56.3) with sectionals of 31, 29.2, 28.3, and 28.1.
SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.
R1: Win 2: Innocent Crocker (C Turpin).
R2: Win 2: Lettucefirestar (R Veivers).
R3: E/W 2: Big Bang Leonard (S Graham).
R4: Win 8: Major Generaljujon (G Dixon).
R5: Box trifecta 1-2-4-10: Blue Moon Rising (S Graham)-Convair Hustler (G Dixon)- Ultimate AD (R Veivers)- Pacific Drums (J Butler).
R6: Box trifecta 1-3-4-6: Three Mugs In (G Franklin)- Midnight Man (N McMullen)- Sole Ambition (D Smith)- Subtle Delight (D Hancock).
R7: Win 8: Kotiro (C Monte).
R8: Win 1: Our Bondi Beach (G Franklin).
R9: Win 7: Tennyson Bromac (G Dixon).
R10: Win 6: Colt Thirty One (G Dixon).
R11: Win 6: Our Overanova (G Dixon).