By Duane Ranger
Social media is a very powerful platform. Last Wednesday at Redcliffe and Port Lincoln, social media’s equine equivalent appeared to defy the law of ‘duality’.
Glancing at the racing results that evening it seemed that the very law of racing physics had been blown to pieces in Queensland and South Australia.
Within the space of a couple of hours an 8-year-old chestnut mare named Social Media had won race eight at the Port Lincoln gallops and then she appeared to repeat the dose in race four at the Redcliffe Paceway night trots.
Impossible! How could a different breed of horse win at two meetings which are separated by 2,306 km and 25 hours in distance?
Queensland horseman, Patrick Croghan explains:
“It was quite uncanny really, both horses being named Social Media and both being 8-year-old chestnut mares, but I can assure you there’s no duality going on here,” he laughed.
“But in saying that it is very quirky isn’t it?” he added.
Croghan owns the standardbred version, who is trained by Chantal Turpin and was driven by her husband, Peter. That Redcliffe 1.8 metre victory was her fifth in 29 starts. She was the $2.50 favourite.
The thoroughbred version is trained by Alexander Justice and was ridden by Gary Lo. She got up by half-a-length and has now won seven of her 55 starts. She was the $4.50 second favourite.
Croghan said he bought Social Media nine months ago for $2,000 – well at least his wife, Kerrie did.
“I actually tried to buy her almost four years ago but Jason Fearn said she wasn’t for sale at the time. I must have bought about eight or nine horses from him over the last 10 years, and they’ve all done a good job.
“Then the mare came up for sale on the Trading Post early this year and I told my wife, but really didn’t do much about it. Next thing Kerrie tells me to organise some transport, because the horse was now ours.”
The Alberton-based part-time trainer, owner and breeder said Social Media had now had seven starts for the McMullens for two wins and a second.
“She had her first race in Queensland in June when running fifth at Redcliffe. Pete and Chantal have always done a good job with my horses, and they are doing the same with this one. I’ve got three with them at the moment,” the 38-year-old said.
Social Media lines up again at Albion Park tomorrow (Thursday) in the fourth event at 2.34pm.
“She’s drawn okay at four, but this is a big step up in class and I think she will be hard pressed winning this one. Pete’s back in the bike, but it’s a NR 58-65 race and I think she might have met her mark now.
“It’s also a 2,138 metre mobile, and I personally think she is better suited to mile races. I don’t think I will be backing her. There’s a couple of pacers a bit better than her in the race,” Croghan said.
Social Media, who is by Safari, is the last of three foals (and only winner) out of the 1999 three-win Tip Top Prince mare, Social Achiever.
“I’ve already decided her bloodlines aren’t good enough to breed on from her. She’s such a nice-mannered, kind and gentle mare, and for that reason I’ve already promised my boys - Jake and Josh - that I will break her into saddle so they can ride her when she retires,” Croghan said.
Croghan has been involved in harness racing almost all of his life. He sold a He’s Watching – Our Sweet Melody colt at this year’s APG Yearling Sale in Brisbane for $35,000.
He said the best standardbred that he had owned was the 1999 Fake Left mare, Montana Moonlite, who raced 100 times between November 2002 and April 2006.
“She won 25 races and more than $180,000 for me. I bought her for $6,000 and the yearling sales and then sold her to the USA for $50,000,” Croghan said.
“I’ll probably always be involved in some form, but as my boys get older I want to put more time into them. They love rugby league and that’s where my priorities will lie in the future,” he added.
Croghan works at a major hazardous facility at the Port of Brisbane.