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  4. Long drive pays dividends for Todd Austin's Barcaldine stable

Long drive pays dividends for Todd Austin's Barcaldine stable

IMG-6482.JPGBy Jordan Gerrans

Leading bush trainer Todd Austin had this date in his diary a long way out.

The regional horseman made the long journey from his stable in Barcaldine all the way to Cloncurry this week – some 634 kms with a float on the back – with an aim of qualifying his emerging stable star Wall Street Tycoon for the $75,000 Country Stampede Final for 2021.

With in-form hoop Brooke Richardson in the saddle, the Tycoon Ruler gelding put four in a line in the 1000 metre Open Handicap and landed himself in the big Final at Doomben later this year.

The distance between Barcaldine and Cloncurry is not lost on Austin but it is worth the time on the road when he has got a smart one like Wall Street Tycoon, who scored by almost three lengths.

“It is a bloody long way, we had this race pencilled in a fair while ago to give him a crack and see what happens,” Austin said.

“He has got in now and the owners will be happy. It is a great incentive for racing, they are very good.

“It brings a lot of interest and talking about racing in these little towns, it is very good for racing and they are great ideas.

“These concepts have been a great success in previous years and I cannot see why they would not be again.”

Austin is a regular in the city for bush races, taking Fully Maxed to Brisbane for the Battle Of The Bush final earlier this year, in which he ran just over two lengths behind the winner Rather Salubrious.

The seven-year-old gelding, Wall Street Tycoon, was crunched in betting late, going around as the $1.80 public elect and he did not let down his fans, never looking like getting beaten under a great ride from Richardson.

Richardson has hit a sparkling run of form of late, piloting a winning treble only the other day at Jundah – on top of Friday’s big TAB winner.

Cloncurry and District Race Club president Luke Daniels believes concepts like the Country Cups Challenge, Country Stampede and the Battle Of The Bush are getting more people in the regions interested in ownership, hoping to have a chance to race a galloper on a Metropolitan day in Brisbane.

“They are all in it, they want that opportunity to race on the big stage in Brisbane,” Daniels said.

“There is no better place to do it than at the home of racing in Queensland.

“The amount of interest, from people that do not even own horses, they are now looking for horses here in the bush to race to take them to the big stage.

“It is great and a huge talking point within the industry out here.”


IMG-6481.JPGAustin, who trained bush sensation Sizzalating to Country Horse Of The Year honours last season, has found another promising one in Wall Street Tycoon, who has now won his four starts for the Barcaldine stable.

“He has done the job for us, we have won four from four with him, he has done a great job,” Austin said.

“He came in great order to us from Michael Frappell, the previous trainer, and the owners, as well.

“He is getting stronger and racing better every time.

“I cannot complain with wins.”

According to President Daniels, the introduction of TAB racing to the town of Cloncurry over the last two years has developed a wider audience to the racing industry in the North West of the state.

“To the town, it is a social outing and with the TAB race days we have now, the people in the town recognise how huge it is,” Daniels said.

“We are on the world stage and getting broadcast around the world.

“It is a huge thing and everyone in the community recognises that, even outside of our local area.

“We get a lot of good feedback from other presidents and committees of other clubs saying that they are keen to get on the same program as well – looking forward to more TAB racing in the bush.”

As well as a Country Stampede qualifier at Cloncurry on Friday, the dirt track also hosted a Country Cups Challenge qualifier, which was claimed by the Longreach stable of Mark Oates with the impressive Van Winkel.

Magnus gelding Van Winkel adds the 2021 Cloncurry Cup to his resume, just weeks after he became a Longreach Cup winner - on both occasions ridden by Brisbane hoop Jason Missen.

"The horse has turned the corner," Oates said.

"He has toughened up and became a real race horse.

"At the start of the year we had a light framed horse, mentally and physically he was not very tough but now he has made it."

The 2021 Cloncurry Cup champion has now booked his entry for the $105,000 CCC Final in Brisbane in early December on two separate occasions. 

The Country Cups Challenge and Country Stampede has returned bigger and better in 2021.

Over 20 heats will take place across regional Queensland with the best horses in country racing chasing a berth to battle it out in a Metropolitan final held at Doomben during the TAB Queensland Summer Racing Carnival. 

Qualifiers will be spread out across the state this week, being held at Cloncurry on Friday and two more this weekend at Atherton and Emerald.