By Duane Ranger
Queensland horsemen, Steven Doherty and Mal Charlton, have spoken out about the State’s governing body and the very first QBRED inaugural 2-year-old trot that was run at Albion Park on August 16.
“I’m just happy Racing Queensland went through with what they promised everyone regarding the introduction of 2-year-old trotters here.
“They have stuck to their guns and it is a step in the right direction. I’m delighted to have won a $10,000 race for the owners and breeders," Pimpama-based Charlton said.
Charlton trained the Raboki-bred Mistakes Were Made to win that inaugural 1,628m stand. The Bettor's Delight filly won $6,060 for her head victory, and then yesterday (Tuesday) banked another $572 for running third in the Atlas Copco 2yo Trot.
Admittedly, there were only three starters in each race, but co-owner and driver, Doherty, is just pleased he could win a race with a horse that had four bad legs.
"Shannon Price offered her to me for free one day I was at her place shoeing horses. I wouldn't have normally taken a young horse like that, but she was by Bettor's Delight and out of a very good family. Her dam (The Love Affair) won five races.
"If I was to buy a horse like that at the yearling sales it would cost me $30,000 or $40,000. I knew she needed four surgeries on each leg but my fiancee (Sophie Starr) is a vet and I thought why not take her. It was a very kind gesture,” Doherty said.
Doherty said he obtained Mistakes Were Made not knowing that Racing Queensland was about to initiate 2-year-old trotting races in the State.
“I want to give Racing Queensland a ‘big rap’. David Brick promoted the concept and now it’s up and running. They had every reason not to run races like this, but have shown great foresight for our sport.
“Hopefully there will be more races for them as 3-year-olds next season and the governing body can build on this. It should result in more young trotters going through the Sales ring now that the QBRED 2-year-old trot races have arrived,” Morton Vale-based Doherty said.
He then described his inaugural QBRED 2yo Trot winner as a ‘horrible-looking little thing’, who probably wouldn’t start looking like or act a racehorse until she was four.
“When we lined her up, I would have been happy if she didn’t finish 100 metres last, because she’s nowhere near ready to fire. Yesterday for example, she led off her 10m handicap, and then broke.
“She’s a work in progress, but very much worth persevering with – especially after what she’s been through,” the 34-year-old blacksmith said.
Just under a year ago veterinarians carried out one operation, but four surgeries on her two rear hocks and two front fetlocks.
“They x-rayed her legs and saw what needed to be done and now she seems fine. She was diagnosed as having OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans),” he said.
He said OCD was a relatively common developmental disease that affects the cartilage and bone in the joints of horses. It causes clinical signs of disease in five to 25 per cent of all horse breeds.
The black/brown filly was put out for six months, including three months in a box. Charlton started working her four months ago knowing that the QBRED race would be staged in late August.
“Mal only has a little track and has done an exceptionally good job with her in a short time. It’s all about education at this early stage. She had never been around other horses in a race until she made her debut.
“But at least she’s sound and getting more race-fit and race-wary. We only kept her in work because of Racing Queensland’s initiative,” Doherty said.
He said Mistakes Were Made was now the best horse that he had owned.
“It’s a great feeling to drive any winner, but to own one is a bit special. We did try putting the hopples on her but she wouldn’t pace a yard.
“Sophie and I have got a well-bred Bettor’s Delight trotter. We are ‘rapt’, and grateful to Shannon for this opportunity,” Doherty said.