Emotional johnson claims first birdsville cup
By Alex Nolan
An emotional Bevan ‘Billy’ Johnson struggled for words after his grand old warrior Blue Jest lumped the 63kg to win the 2018 UBET Birdsville Cup, his first after 7 years of trying.
Apprentice Adin Thompson urged the eight-year-old over the line after a thrilling battle up the straight with the Phillip Stokes-trained Boggoms and Jay Morriss’ Expat Envy.
“I’m pretty emotional, hey. He’s one of the toughest bush horses I’ve ever had,” Johnson said.
“I’ve been confident with the horse all week. He felt good, ate, and has done everything right.
“They always tell me you can’t win with the top weight. Then we drew the outside barrier and I think he was a pretty good price too!
“We’re going out tonight…”
It was the first feature race win for Johnson’s 17-year-old apprentice Adin Thompson, who only started riding about six months ago.
“I can’t explain it it’s the best feeling,” he said.
“It took a fair while to get a win and for I while I didn’t know I’d get one. Then I got one and started riding a few doubles and now I’ve come here and won a Birdsville Cup, it’s unbelievable.”
So how does he plan to celebrate the win?
“Brophy’s (boxing) tent,” he said.
“I had one win in there last year I fought one of the Brophy boys and won that so will see how I go in there when I fight for Brophy this year.”
hickmott wins with first queensland runner
By Alex Nolan
Michael Hickmott had held a carrer-long ambition to attend the Birdsville Carnival and his 1100km journey from South Australia proved worthwhile when Jayeffkay dominated the Akubra QTIS Added Stakes Class 2 this afternoon.
Hickmott, who donated a 5% share of his Birdsville Cup runner Unbreakable to the Queensland drought appeal, was confident Jayeffkay could atone for a down the track effort at his last start in Darwin.
"He's a nice horse. He missed the start in Darwin and then we bought him ... he's paid his way now," Hickmott said.
Photo: Michael McInally/Three Way Photos
"He tries really hard and (Jockey) Johnny (Keating) gave him a peach."
Hickmott could make it two Queensland runners for two winners if Unbreakable wins the Cup.
"He was favourite in a Darwin Cup so he'll handle the dirt no worries," Hickmott said.
"He's an enigmatic horse but if the right Unbreakable turns up today he'll probably win."
Keating praised Hickmott's training ability after the win.
"He's a good trainer who comes from a very good line of trainers," he said.
morriss lands winning double after satan da shows demon speed
By Alex Nolan
Trainer Jay Morriss continued the remarkable performance by Mt Isa trainers at Birdsville when the heavily backed Satan Da stormed clear to win the Lyndhurst Stud Class 5.
Satan Da arrived at Birdsville after an impressive last-start effort at the 'Isa, and after jockey Raymond Vigar's aggressive tactics ensured the horse crossed the field from a wide gate before storming away to record a dominant win.
Morriss, who won the 2011 (Just A Touch) and 2015 (Iron Meteorite) Birdsville Cups made it a winning double for the weekend after Beaudragon saluted in the last event on Friday.
Satan Da was the fifth Isa-trained horse to salute this weekend.
"I don't know why we're doing so well but historically, Isa trainers have a really good record here so there's no great secret," he said.
Morriss will attemp to win his third Birdsville Cup when he saddles up Expat Envy (11) later this afternoon. Fellow Isa trainer Bob Burow will have Good Job Bro (8) with ro
mount isa strikes again
By Alex Nolan
Mount Isa has brought up another winner at the Birdsville Cup Carnival after jockey Dan Ballard steered the Mark Oates-trained Alfiarto to win the BM 55 this afternoon.
The lightly raced 5YO returned to the winners' stall for the first time since August 5 last year after an enforced layoff due to injury.
Alfiarto loomed in the home straight and proved too strong as he finished over the top of the well-supported Safdie.
"He's a good little horse," Oates said.
"He'll have a couple more runs and then go for another spell."
Ballard predicted a bright future for Alfiarto.
"All credit to my boy, he dug deep," Ballard said.
The Todd Austin-trained Payback was well supported to win the race for a second year running with 71.5kg but took no part in the race after staying in the gates.
smith and day start CUP DAY in style
By Alex Nolan
They did it the tough way but Roma trainer Craig Smith and jockey Nathan Day have posted their first win for the carnival in the opener on Cup day at Birdsville.
A fruitless day on Friday was quickly forgotten when publishing gelding 'The Scoop' hung tough to claim the Maiden over 1200m ahead of My Mind Is Madeup and the fast-finishing Truffle Hunter.
The Scoop bounced to the lead early and despite being challenge numerous times in the straight, was able to score a narrow victory.
While not thrilled with his ride, Day said it was Smith's ability as a trainer that got the horse home.
"I went for home too early and we were lucky to get away with it," Day said.
"Lucky Smithy is a good trainer and had him fit."
The jockey on second placegetter My Mind Is Madeup viewed the stewards footage after the race after The Scoop shifted out over the final furlong but didn't lodge a protest.