By Richard Turnbull
Balmy conditions met patrons and participants when Pioneer Park (Emerald) hosted its first race meeting for 2018 last weekend, which also included its first in-house television coverage.
The coverage was hosted by Leon Roberts, local radio identity Mark Calvert, On The Bit Country Racing founder Matty Peters, and Scott Powers.
‘Good thing’ of the day Classic Wind saluted in the first race despite an alarming betting drift ($2-$2.90) before the jump. The Beau Green-trained runner was perfectly ridden by Christopher Bryan in its 2.5 length demolition job, making Green’s 1000km round road-trip from Charleville worthwhile.
Shane Sigvart’s tough mare Madam Pink ($2.40) defied a 61kg impost to claim the Benchmark 45 Handicap over 1200m. Ridden by apprentice Madeleine Wishart, Madam Pink held off the Laurie Clem-trained Princess Rhythm ($10).
The Kevin Miller-trained Dudoomp ($3.80) took out the last event on the program, the 1300m Benchmack 60 handicap with Scott Sheargold in the saddle.
Emerald Jockey Club President Leon Roberts and Central Highlands bookmaker Vince Aspinall are the lucky owners of the Jamie McConachy-trained two-year-old filly Brook’s Pleaasure, which bolted in by 7.25 lengths on debut at Rockhampton last week.
The filly won in a jaw-dropping time of 1min 03.39sec when eased down by jockey Nathan Day, who never asked the filly to go beyond second gear.
Brook’s Pleasure looked every bit a talented racehorse in her two dominant barrier trial wins, and the track watchers’ mail was correct.
A $24,000 purchase at last year’s Capricornia Yearling Sale, the filly will now head toward the CYS 2YO Classic (1200m) at Rockhampton on Saturday, April 7.
Aspinall, a breeding buff, is considered to be one of Australia’s leading form analysts. After studying pedigree charts, Aspinall bough the filly and syndicated her to a group of lucky owners, including Roberts.
Brook’s pleasure also stands to collect a grand total of $164,000, the richest purse ever won on a race at Rockhampton.
Aspinall, along with his wife Judy, have raced many topline gallopers including Real Saga and Awesome Warrier, which finished unplaced in the 2004 Melbourne Cup.
Roberts and his family received a real lift after the filly won on Friday, as wife Sally continues to battle cancer, which she is holding at bay.
Whether you have an interest or not, it will be worth being trackside at Rockhampton on April 7 to see whether history is made.