By Glenn Davis
A hobby trainer with a veteran sprinter will make the long trip from Emerald in central Queensland to attempt to qualify for next week’s Cannonball Series Final when the last qualifying leg is run at Gatton on Thursday.
Trainer Raymond Williams, 43, and 10-year-old Boot Shaker will make the long road trip to run in the TAB 2019 Cannonball Series Benchmark 68 Handicap (860m).
Williams, a former jockey before increasing weight forced him to quit riding, started training at the start of the year and has a small team of five horses in work at Emerald.
Bootshaker is part-owned by Williams and his partner Tracey Leake, who previously trained the gelding for three seconds from five starts before work commitments forced her to give training away.
“He was given to us from a Grant Wiles who trains at Julia Creek,” said Williams.
“Grant gave him away because he couldn’t find any suitable races for him out west.”
Williams, who works fulltime in the local mine, struck immediate success when Bootshaker was transferred to him winning over 800 metres at Thangool at his last start in February.
A son of Gillian Heinrich’s former flyer All Bar One, Bootshaker has started 44 times for eight wins and 18 placings and more than $71,000 in prizemoney.
Bootshaker, who will be ridden by apprentice Hannah English, has a good first-up record with three wins and four placings from 11 starts but has failed at his only two starts at Gatton.
“He’s been in work for 14 weeks so he’s fit enough to run well first-up,” Williams said.
“Tracey trained him for a few starts before she had to give it away because of her work and he won his first start for me at Thangool.
“He might be a ten-year-old but he’s sound as a bell and has legs of steel.
“A lot of the jockeys who’ve ridden him rate him one of the quickest horses they’ve seen out of the barriers.
“I’ll be leaving today to travel eight hours to Nanango where we’ll stop over at (trainer) Glen Richardson’s place and go on to Gatton on race day.”
The Cannonball Series Final will be run over 800 metres at Kilcoy on Saturday week.
Any horse which finishes first or second in the three qualifying heats are exempt from a ballot for the Cannonball Series Final.
Rivals Si Si Sequalo from the Pat Duff stable and the Mick Lakey-trained Flame Of Liberty are both qualified after finishing first and second in the first Cannonball Series heat at Kilcoy on November 1.
Racing Queensland webnews November 20