The chances of former Olympian Mick Brennan returning home have been shelved.
Brennan, a field hockey midfielder from Toowoomba, was a member of the Australian mens team that won gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
The proud Queenslander who resides in Perth and operates a large stable from Blythewood has harboured a desire to return to his home state chasing winter carnival riches in recent years.
And he thought he had the right horse this year.
Richly talented three-year-old Im Rockaria loomed as a likely Queensland Derby candidate and Brennan was keen to chase the blue riband classic at Albion Park on July 15.
But plans have been derailed owing to a series of unfortunate setbacks.
“I’ve been thinking about returning home and seeing a lot of my family for some time and bringing a horse with me, I think it works well as a combination of mixing buisiness with pleasure. I haven’t had the right horse in recent years and I thought this guy met the profile required but he’s not right and he’s now in the paddock.” Brennan said.
Im Rockaria is a special talent, a winner of 10 races from his 19 career starts to date while banking more than $145,000 in stakes.
His biggest triumph came last year via the Gr.1 $100,000 Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park defeating Wesley and Allmightyjoelouis.
Leading reinsman Chris Voak took the winning drive on that occasion.
As a three-year-old, Im Rockaria has won 7 from 13 but the season has been puncuated by near misses which has left Brennan frustrated.
Three starts ago, he won the $25,000 Battle of Bunbury in dominant style before being struck down with a nasty mouth ulcer which left him short in his most recent start, the Gr.1 $200,000 WA Derby at Gloucester Park on April 7.
“It ended up being an infection under a cavity in a tooth and that explains why he became difficult to steer in his past two starts, it obviously was causing plenty of discomfort so we’ve had it treated and it was decided to give him a spell.
“We took him to Melbourne earlier this season for the Victoria Derby and just failed to qualify for the final, he’s definitely capable of mixing it with the very best, I’ve got plenty of faith in this horse.
“I thought he would measure up in the Queensland Derby but unfortunately we won’t be making the trip but I promise I will return one day and land a feature race. It’s been a dream of mine since I started training and while I’ve been lucky enough to win some great races, it would be something else to win a big race in your own state.”
Brennan paid just $16,000 at the Victorian yearling sales for the Rocknroll Hanover – Vitness colt who was subsequently gelded.
Im Rockaria is raced by Brennan and his wife Lara, Cam Byers and Dave Skelton , Michael Maxwell and Cameron Maggs.
Maybe next year for Brennan and his trip home.
Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | May 18 | Photo credit: Ashlea Brennan