By Jordan Gerrans
As the Bruce Highway spans over 1,000 kilometres from Rockhampton to Cairns, there is only a small number of trainers who will be on hand for almost every day of the 2021 TAB Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.
Leading Rockhampton trainer Jared Wehlow is one of the few.
Born in Townsville and now based in the Beef Capital of Australia, Wehlow’s father – Greg – previously trained on the Atherton Tablelands, where Jared also spent some time in his youngest days.
It gives Jared, who has around 30 in work at Callaghan Park Racecourse, an appreciation for the entirety of the north as he has raced his barn up and down the North Queensland coast for years.
“We always support all the carnivals, it is a great time to go to Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, I have a lot of owners in Townsville, as well as being born there,” Wehlow said on Thursday morning as the Northern Carnival was officially launched at Callaghan Park.
“I have a fair few horses that the Townsville people will want to see and I also have plenty in my stable from Cairns, mostly from the Jorgensen family.
“Inquiry, who is owned by the Jorgensens, is now back with me and he will look forward to going to the Mackay Newmarket in the coming weeks and then go further north as well.
“We always support the carnivals and it is a great time of the year.
“My Dad always supported all the northern carnivals when I was a kid, I have been going up there for as long as I can remember, it is a tradition these days.”
The Northern Carnival will officially commence in Rockhampton on Friday before enjoying stops in Mackay, Townsville and Cairns over the next two months.
Staged over 10 action-packed meetings, more than $3 million in prize money and bonuses will go on the line.
Wehlow has tasted FNQ heartbreak in recent years, taking several strong chances to Cairns’ Cannon Park without coming back home with the major prize.
The Wehlow barn had to scratch race favourite North Afrika on the eve of the 2020 Cairns Cup after the big chestnut gelding was a bit sore from a stone bruise.
Back in 2019, Unbiased, Wehlow’s FNQ Cup chance in 2019, was vetted and declared a late scratching just before the race on veterinary advice when found to be lame in his off front leg.