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Tom Button’s day to remember

By Tony McMahon

It was a case of a multiplicity for several characters at the highly successful combined Rockhampton Jockey Club and St Peter’s School annual TAB race meeting at Callaghan Park at the weekend.

The richest races on the six-race card - where almost an amazing $225,000 in prize money was distributed – came via the 1300-metre Capricornia Yearling Sales 4&5YO Championship and the CYS 3YO Guineas over 1200 metres.

Former premier Rockhampton trainer Tom Button - now Sunshine Coast-based - quinellaed both features with comeback jockey Nathan Thomas riding the winners and Justin Stanley the runners-up.

Similarly, Neville Stewart’s Oakland’s Stud provided the quinella result of Miss Lot Won ($4.20) and The Silver Lady ($7.00) in the $75,000 Guineas, while also breeding winner Flying Crackerjak ($5.50) in the Championship.

The Callaghan Park enclosure was a scene of euphoria throughout the presentation ceremonies, as winners Miss Lot Won and Flying Crackerjak are raced by a bevy of owners who were joyous to say the least.

Both races were exclusive to graduates of the Capricornia Yearling Sale, which is the lifeblood of juvenile and three-years-old racing in Rockhampton.

Miss Lot Won - named as she was Lot 1 at the 2019 sale - cost a mere $17,000, and has proven to be a bargain indeed for her host of owners.

Saturday’s emphatic three-and-a-half length win earned the owners – of which a number are involved in Flying Crackerjak as well - some $55,450 to be divided.

That win takes Miss Lot Won’s prize money to over $220,000.

Flying Crackerjak, which sold for $34,000 at the 2018 sale, has now won $123,000 - including four in succession.

Part-owner Bev Gibbs spoke of Flying Crackerjak’s courage, reminding us that the gelding had overcome Ross River Fever earlier in his career - a disease that many horses never recover from.

Trainer Tom Button’s role in whitewashing both Yearling Sale races should never be underestimated, as he chose the winners and runners-up The Tax Accountant and the Silver Lad at their respective sales.

He has placed them throughout their careers to a nicety, winning 17 races for their owners and only a few dollars short of $700,000 in prize money.

Any wonder Button had a smile on his face all afternoon like a Cheshire cat, as he deserves the highest praise for developing the foursome’s careers so professionally.

The racing industry can be a harsh mistress, but Saturday’s results proved it can also provide karma in the best of ways.

Nathan Thomas, who so brilliantly rode both Miss Lot Won and Flying Crackerjak, was entitled to be on cloud nine but ever the professional he maintained his decorum.

Just a fortnight ago, Thomas resumed race riding after being sidelined since January following a severe elbow injury sustained in a freak fall in a barrier trial on his home track at the Sunshine Coast.

“It was a worrying and frustrating time as I was concerned that my riding days were in jeopardy,” Thomas said.

“I’m still doing physio work but I can’t describe what it means winning these two races for Tommy and the owners - it makes it all worthwhile.”