QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith.
QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith. David Nielsen

Marburg ideal place to relax as welcome rain clears

WE wanted the rain desperately in the Ipswich footprint, as did most of Australia.

Hay became scarce, and as a result costly, as did most grain based products.

Weeks turned into months with no relief. Then, with little warning, other than hailstorms that we did not want, came rain.

Where we had cursed the dust, we now cursed the mud.

Race meetings were abandoned and participants comfort zones severely dented.

The only lesson learned from it all was that we are hard to please.

If , however, you are seeking pleasure, then Marburg tomorrow is the place to find it.

Gates open at 11am on a nine-race program set against a theme of "Oktoberfest" with craft beers, German sausage, kids amusements the $10,000 "Whiteoak Capital-Marburg Marathon Handicap" and the time honoured Graham Harriott Memorial Trot.

Young drivers from the Ipswich area will feature in two divisions of the Garrards-Marburg Young Drivers Championship.

The pick the last six carries $3000 (share) for any one skilful enough to select the last six winners.

Other highlights include the mini-trotters, "pat a pony", funny money bookie, UBET van, a traditional bookie and the raffle, headed up by a piece of "Winx'' memorabilia, autographed race colours in a presentation frame.

Admission is $5 adults and $3 for pensioners, social members and the all important race book.

Ageless effort

IF you have ever wondered why there are so many older folk among the sulky sitting set, read the following from the Australian harness website.

"Victorian harness racing has paid tribute to a long-time trainer, driver, gentleman and Inter Dominion champion in Eric Rothacker.

The beloved trots participant passed at age 89 on October 13, leaving behind a devoted family and a considerable imprint on the harness racing landscape.

Mr Rothacker continued to train until 2015-16 and drive until 2009-10 after an extensive career of participation, most recently with 1996 Bendigo Trotters Cup winner Larry Do, 1990 Horsham Pacing Cup winner Eck's Shadow and Fiery Gent (2002). His last training win was with Watch My Sox at St Arnaud on July 2, 2015, when he was aged 86, while it was at age 76 that he piloted his last win (Hanging Loose at Bendigo in November 2005).

He was a prominent member of Victorian harness racing royalty, being the son of Vic Rothacker, nephew of Bill Rothacker and cousin of Gordon Rothacker.

He formed a terrific and successful bond with Gentleman John in the 1950s, a gelding which he owned, trained and drove after the yearling was gifted to him by his father.

Gentleman John would win the 1955 A. G. Hunter Cup, three Vic Globe Derby Championships, three Melbourne Showgrounds Free For Alls and the Horsham Easter Cup. But it's his victory in the 1956 Inter Dominion at Sydney's Harold Park for Eric Rothacker that would provide a career highlight, with the 26-year-old being at the time the youngest driver to taste Inter success.

Gentleman John beat local pacer Mineral Spring by a head with New Zealand's Caduceus a gallant third in front of a crowd of 34,020. It was Gentleman John's 24th win and took his earnings to £19,000 (the equivalent of 10 brick houses today).''

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Redcliffe tonight.

Race 1: Box trifecta 1-2-9 Riverleigh Jeff (G Whitaker), Midnight Bender (T McMullen)-Beau Cishlom (D McMullen).

R2: Box trifecta 1-7-8: The Ides Of March (N Dawson)-With authority (N McMullen)-January (K Rasmussen).

R3: Quinella 2--3: Frankie Rocks (G Dixon) and Devil Dodger (T Dixon).

R4: Quinella 2-9: Living Grand (H Barnes) and Soldier Of Fortune (D McMullen).

R5: E/w 1: Fiery Blue Chip (D McMullen).

R6: Box trifecta 1-2-7: Bohdi Tree (L Cain)-Glenferrie Hood (K Rasmussen)-Watch Pulp Fiction H Barnes).

R7: E/w 2: Top Trio (L Cain).

R8: Quinella 2-9: Big In America (P McMullen) and Novena Rose (A Sanderson).

R9: Quinella 1-10: Mr Kalyso (K Rasmussen) and Franco Totem (R Maguire).

R10: Quinella 1-3: Miracle Rising (G Dixon) and Needle (G Whitaker).

Marburg selections and comment for tomorrow's meeting.

Race 1 selections: 3-5-7.

FEELGOOD CHICK: Still green, but has good gate speed. Maybe.

IMPETUOSO: Albion Park 2nd in August. Tough effort beaten by a neck only.

DALLAS COWGIRL: Last four runs solid, gets nice trail.

Race 2 selections: 3-4-5.

TASCOTT LADY: Form sound, honest efforts when placed four from last five. Gets chance.

EULO FLYER: Gate speed and good driver, trained here.

JULIA MAC: Not won since Redcliffe in April. Will go forward looking for trail.

Race 3 selections: 3-4-7.

SIR SEMPER FIDELIS: Form mixed, might be strong enough to race death seat.

EXPRESS PASS: Nothing in two runs SEQ, gets slight class drop here. Market best guide.

WRITEABOUTCHELSEA: Consistent and gets easy trail here.

Race 4 selections: 3-4-7.

OSCARS GLORY: Did work when winner at Redcliffe in February. Maybe.

MANWITHTHEESKI: Might get a trail from there. Not the roughest.

FLASHING GOOD TIME: Gets easy trail in ordinary field.

Race 5 selections: 7-8-9.

RED RIVER DEBBA: Form excellent since coming north. Every chance.

STONED AGAIN: Getting better with every run.

NORTHERN MUSCLE: Last two top efforts but still risk away.

Race 6 selections: 1-5-7.

MISTERIODEJANEIRO: Gate speed last run Redcliffe. Might lead these, that would help.

LETHAL STAR: One run since coming north for no joy. Top stable is advantage.

RUATO BAY: Not won since April, but this is class drop.

Race 7 selections: 8-7-2.

IF YOU BELIEVE: Will round these up.

DONOMOOR: Winner here last start. Tough effort.

WHATA STRIDE: Might lead these. Top stable helps.

Race 8 selections: 5-7-1.

LOTS MORE GRINS: Has the form and can do the work.

INVITE ONLY: Top stable, top driver, and gets carted into it.

REDDY FIRE: Third run from spell. Could surprise.

Race 9 selections: 1-8-9.

MR MEDDLE: Reliable at stands and will be in front for a long way.

SIR JULIAN: Showed plenty at last run here these conditions. Go very well again.

SWEET AS: One win from only two runs at stands. Top stable and driver, must be included.

Honour board

In a somewhat desolate week, when the Ipswich factor was a lowly 12/42, Pete McMullen was top driver with three wins (rating 150), ahead of Adam Richardson and Darrell Graham, two apiece for rates of 100. Darrell Graham was a high point trainer leading in two winners for the term. Most pleasing was Real Knuckey for Peter Jones with Keith Durston in the bike.

Redcliffe, October 12: Daenerys Storm Born (Adam Sanderson); Matt Belford (Adam Richardson for Murray Thomas); Just Rokin (Pete McMullen for Peter Greig); Hard To Hear (Trent Dawson); Tom Me Gun (Narissa McMullen); Ima Morven Lad (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers).

Redcliffe, October 13: Concentration (Gary Whitaker for Tess Neaves); Sweet As (Darrell Graham); Franco Totem (Darrell Graham).

Redcliffe, October 17: Real Knucky (Keith Durston for Peter Jones); Weedons Express (Danielle McMullen for John McMullen); Miraclesdoappen (Nathan Dawson for Mark McNee).

Redcliffe, October 18: Werelivinthedream (Pete McMullen for Peter Greig); Franks Fortune (Adam Richardson for Lee Storie); Just Rokin (Pete McMullen for Peter Greig).