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Central Queensland owners dreaming of dual Jewel prize

26 February 2024

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By Jordan Gerrans

Central Queensland owners Mitchell and Anna Power are daring to dream of a double QTIS Jewel delight when their two gallopers head south to the Gold Coast early next month.

The Rockhampton-based Powers will have representation from their ownership stable in each age group for the rich Finals after Sunshinyday won the Callaghan Park qualifier on Saturday afternoon.

The older of the Powers' horses – Acres Away – finished second in the Mackay qualifier the day before at the Ooralea track.

Acres Away and Sunshinyday are both prepared by young Rockhampton horseman Tom Smith who has made QTIS Jewel Final day a regular fixture on his calendar over the last three years.

The promising juveniles both race in the same colours: pink, black hoops and cap.

Smith’s gallopers will be two of a glut of horses from Central and North Queensland who are set to descend on Aquis Park for the show-piece day following the northern qualifiers series.

Sunshinyday showed plenty of fight in her maiden victory on Saturday, holding off What A Doozy from the Liam Birchley team to land the two-year-old CQ qualifier over 1100 metres.

“Her first start was only eight days prior and she could have won that day,” Smith said.

“In hindsight it did not work out too bad as she had a soft run in her first start and turned around eight days later and won.

“Liam Birchley’s horse that she beat has won a midweek metro race at Ipswich so she is no slouch. It was good to see her put them away.”

Tom Smith Next Racing
Georgie Holt Next Racing
John Wigginton Next Racing
In Evidence

The Powers are smiling from ear-to-ear with what Sunshinyday has produced so far after purchasing the filly for just $5,000 at the March Magic Millions sales.

Smith was hopeful she would make her debut before the calendar turned to 2024 but says she has been able to mature since and has handled the short current preparation well.

“We feel she has earnt her place and you do not get to go around for $500,000 very often,” Smith said.

“We will go down, for sure. Acres Away will get in with his prize money.”

Smith has only been training since the 2019-20 campaign but with a team of 10 in work at a time, he has most certainly made his presence felt on QTIS Jewel day.

Smith’s Better Rain finished a length behind She'sgottheboom in the 2022 edition of the two-year-old Final before fronting up a year later and running into fourth behind All That Pizzazz.

It is not just Smith from the CQ district that has been around the mark in the Jewel deciders in recent years.

John Wigginton’s In Evidence was a couple of lengths from two-year-old champion Mishani Royale last year and won through to the older edition last Friday at Mackay.

In Evidence beat out Smith’s Acres Away in a tight finish.

In Evidence was likely to head south for the Gold Coast Final regardless of the result on Friday but the victory – the fifth of the gelding's career – just punched the ticket.

Acres Away going on to the track before one of his city races.

“I think he’ll make the field for the QTIS Final and this Mackay race is a nice stepping stone,” Wigginton said pre-race.

Further north, Townsville’s Georgie Holt will send Cluden Park qualifier Time To Prophet south after the emerging filly claimed the second race of her career in the two-year-old qualifier for North Queensland.

Holt won a Jewel qualifier for the now retired Anniemariah three years ago and the stable’s decision to not head to the Gold Coast on that occasion played a role in Time To Prophet’s chase of the QTIS prize this time around.

“I think we will at this stage. She does struggle with the heat a little bit so it will depend a fair bit on her recovery,” Holt said.

“All going well and she recovers from the run, we’ll look to make some plans to get her down there.

“The owners are all very keen. It’s an opportunity you probably don’t want to pass up.

Time To Prophet and connections after she claimed the $25,000 2YO Jewel qualifier at Cluden Park.

“We didn’t go with Anniemariah when she won this race in 2021 and we regretted it.

“I’m not saying she would have won but it was a weaker race that year and you don’t get a shot at that sort of prize money too often.”

Time To Prophet won the time-honoured Pallarenda Stakes fillies’ division in October of last year in strong fashion.

“Time For Prophet is a smart filly,” Holt said.

“She’s been a race horse since day one.”

Staged on March 9, the $2 million Queensland Jewel race day will return to the Gold Coast Turf Club this year and it will once again be headlined by the $500,000 2YO QTIS Jewel and the $500,000 3YO QTIS Jewel.