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FNQ Up and Coming Stayers Series heating up

6 June 2022

Photos: Peter Roy

By Jordan Gerrans

Cassowary Coast mare Super Rose has put herself right in the frame to be a contender in the Magic Millions FNQ Up and Coming Stayers Series of 2022 after a devastating performance on her home track on Saturday.

The Up and Coming Stayers Series is an eight-race event that provides horses with lower ratings an opportunity to race over staying trips and look to eventually qualify for North Queensland Cup races later in the year.

Super Rose – trained by Maria Potiris at Innisfail – had run in the money on two earlier races in the series before grabbing full points on offer on Saturday, scoring by more than two lengths in Benchmark 60 grade over 1800 metres.

Maria prepares her team of gallopers alongside her father Stephen.

Maria has taken on more responsibilities around the stable in recent months with Stephen on the sidelines himself after undergoing hip surgery.

Stephen has been impressed with the way Maria has placed in the four-year-old mare this campaign, not missing the top three in her last five runs, which has included two victories.

“The horse has been very consistent, she is still very green and immature,” Stephen said.

“Maria is doing a really, really good job with the horse, she is placing her well.

“We have run her over more ground and that is working good.

“It was a good performance on Saturday.”

The triumph on Saturday afternoon – the third of the mare’s career form 17 tries – gives her five points in the series, three behind leader Craiglea Simmo – who ran second on Saturday afternoon.

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The popular series in FNQ next turn’s to Atherton later this month before two more legs are run at Oak Park and Cairns.

It is the second year that the series has been branded the Magic Millions Rob Koch Memorial Far North Queensland Up and Coming Stayers Series.

Koch was a respected North Queensland racing ­administrator and horse owner who passed away in March 2020.

Koch started the series in conjunction with local clubs in 2014 and it has grown in popularity and stature every year since.

Super Rose will face the starter at Atherton’s Morrow Park later this month but her campaign from there on is undecided.

She is unlikely to head to Oak Park and continue to search for points but may press on to Cairns’ Cannon Park if the barn can get the cash at Atherton.

“She has been up for a long time so if she doesn’t win at Atherton, she might go for a break,” Stephen said.

Super Rose’s victory on Saturday for the Potiris stable also provided new rider for the team – James Baker – his first triumph since making the move north.

He had a fair day in the seat on Saturday, picking up the winner for Maria, as well as two other rides who finished in the placings.

Multiple FNQ Cup winning trainer Stephen has been pleased with the way the product of the Downs area in Queensland has settled into Innisfail.

“He is happy and going well,” Potiris said.

“He has ridden for some big stables as an apprentice and hopefully he can make a good go of it in Innisfail after his fair share of injuries over the years."

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As well as the horse category in the Magic Millions FNQ Up and Coming Stayers Series, there is also extra incentives for the leading rider and trainer in the series.

Pietro Romeo leads the hoop’s division with six points – with Lacey Morrison in second on five – and Trevor Rowe ahead in the trainers’ section with eight following Craiglea Simmo's run of form.

The owners of the horse that accrues the most points in the races receives $4,000 with $2,000 on offer for the trainer and $500 going to the leading hoop, which is courtesy of Cairns Jockey Club.

Click here to read more about the Magic Millions Rob Koch Memorial Far North Queensland Up and Coming Stayers Series.