By Jordan Gerrans
Karla McPhail thinks her partnership with Desleigh Forster is a match made in heaven.
“Two women in racing with big personalities, we are really thrilled to join forces and we are really looking forward to The Archer,” McPhail said.
McPhail is well-known in the Central Queensland area of the Sunshine State, running her The Real Group’s businesses, as well as supporting local not-for-profit groups and clubs.
And, she has engaged leading Brisbane trainer Forster with the aim of claiming the inaugural The Archer next month at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park.
The pair did not know each other personally before McPhail acquired a slot in the first-ever The Archer but they have quickly developed a friendship, centred around gun galloper Apache Chase.
“I heard Desleigh on the radio and she was talking at Apache Chase and I was thrilled with some of thing she had to say,” McPhail remembers.
“I gave her a call and started a conversation and started negotiating a partnership.”
Apache Chase, the winner of The Gateway last year, which gives him a position in the upcoming Stradbroke Handicap, was one of the earliest revealed runners for the first edition of The Archer.
With all slots now filled, preparations for the $440,000 show-piece race in Rockhampton are ramping up, with the four-year-old gelding having an exhibition gallop between races on Wednesday at Ipswich.
Forster was hopeful of trialling him on Tuesday morning at Doomben before they were washed out.
Hailing from the Central West region of Queensland, Forster loves getting back to the bush and while Rockhampton is not exactly a small city, she believes a concept like The Archer is excellent for the area.
“It is all going to be exciting for the people from Rocky way,” Forster said.
“It will be good to take him up there as he has to start off somewhere.
“It will be good for country racing in Rockhampton to have these top horses up there.
“Hopefully with a bit of luck this concept can become a really nice race for them into the future.”
As well as engaging Apache Chase for her slot, McPhail owns shares in a number of gallopers around Australia, including with fellow CQ product Tommy Button and a handful of southern trainers.
“I absolutely love racing and think it is a wonderful sport,” McPhail said.
“I really enjoy it; it is a great relaxation for me.
“I own a number of horses here in the local area as well as in NSW and in Brisbane.
“I love attending the local track to see my horses race.”