Horse racing and weather phenomenons such as cyclones share a commonality – uncertainly.
Little wonder racing industry stakeholders in the wider spectrum are on tenterhooks as Cyclone Debbie appears on the radar just days before Rockhampton racing’s biggest weekend of the year.
Over the two races days of Friday and Saturday, which have attracted a whopping entry of 259 horses, the Rockhampton Jockey Club (RJC) will distribute a massive $312,000 in prize money.
Then on Sunday at the Rockhampton Showgrounds, some 93 thoroughbred yearlings are catalogued to be sold being expected to fetch a gross close to $1million.
With owners, trainers, jockeys, breeders, buyers, vendors and visitors attracted from throughout Queensland, the Rockhampton economy stands to cash-in on a massive injection of dollars.
Jointly, spokespersons for the RJC and Capricornia Yearling Sales (CYS) took an optimistic view and declared “the show will go on”.
“We know Callaghan Park racecourse with something like 16 kilometres of drainage system beneath the track just needs a clear day after big rain for racing to proceed. You have to be positive – what else can we do and we are in the lap of the Gods with the uncertainty of the cyclone’s whereabouts”, RJC CEO Tony Fenlon said.
CYS co-ordinator Jeff Leaver said the “sale would definitely proceed”.
“We have to, vendors are committed and the beauty is the facility for the stables and everything at the Robert Schwarten Pavilion is under cover. We will be having the Ladbrokes sponsored Calcutta there as well on Friday night and it is under cover as well and promises to be a tremendous social night for breeders and industry stakeholders. I have no doubt the buyers will be present on Sunday as this is our best catalogue yet and interest from throughout Queensland and beyond is fabulous. Everything is coming into shape at the Showgrounds complex”, Leaver said.
The Gold Coast’s Glen Colless, a GR 1 winning jockey will add glamour to the line-up of top class riders on both days of racing as will international jockey Myles Plumb on Saturday.
The race nominations includes entries from Brisbane; Toowoomba; Roma; Caloundra; Mackay; Miles; Taroom as well as a wide range of country centres.
Social activities associated with the three days spectacular of racing and sales are detailed on the Callaghan Park website.
For the first time in years, Rockhampton racing’s richest and signature race the $116,000 Capricornia Yearling Sales 2YO Classic (1200m), seemingly is dominated by local horses with a big chunk of the offspring of progeny from the Oaklands Stud on the Darling Downs.
The big Oaklands sale draft rolls into Rockhampton on Thursday and is available for inspection once they settle into the stabling.
Boutique thoroughbred yearling breeders Kerrod and Glenda Smyth of Lauren Glen Equine Centre, Alton Downs are inviting and welcoming would-be buyers to inspect their prestige draft for Sunday’s sales at their property pre-sale.