Mackay’s new course-proper has stood firm in the face of Queensland’s wild weather and passed with flying colours.
They raced on Tuesday and then hosted Rockhampton’s flooded Callaghan Park meeting on Thursday. “We’re delighted with the way the track has handled all the rain,” Mackay CEO Michael Jackson said. “There were no issues at all, in fact all reports were positive.”
Leading local trainer Darren Symons also praised stable newcomer Heroic Action who won the last race on Tuesday in the Blessed Hair & Beauty Hcp (1200m). The Soldier’s Tale gelding loves the Ooralea Park surface – a short-neck second is his only blemish in four starts on the StrathAyr.
Heroic Action (3g Soldier’s Tale – Rosa Brava by Thunder Gulch) arrived unraced from trainer Gerald Ryan after a Rosehill trial win in October. “I’m really excited with Heroic Action,” Symons said. “I think he’s the best horse in my stable. I have a massive opinion of him.”
His sire Soldier’s Tale stands at Swettenham Stud. The son of Stravinsky defeated Takeover Target in a memorable duel at Royal Ascot and has sired the winners of 13 races in his first crop.
Heroic Action’s dam Rosa Brava has a yearling filly by Kaphero and delivered another Soldier’s Tale colt in November. She is a half-sister to Brisbane G3 winner Rosa’s Spur (Flying Spur) who has a Swettenham connection through her first foal Members Joy.
A grey filly by Hussonet, Members Joy was a Flemington stakes winner in the spring and she is back for an autumn campaign that may include the G2 Kewney Stakes at headquarters in March.
Members Joy is raced by the MRC Members Horse Club on lease from Swettenham owner Adam Sangster. He selected her at the Gold Coast Magic Millions as a likely type for 9,000 members of the Melbourne Racing Club.
Rain check: The Mackay Turf Club is at the centre of another storm of sorts after Racing Queensland signalled its annual allocation will be stripped from 26 to 22 meetings.
The Mackay Daily Mercury newspaper reported RQL has accused the MTC and Mackay Regional Council of not doing enough to ensure the viability of the race meets. The MTC has hit back with claims RQL’s decision was politically motivated.
To add fuel to the fire, advocacy group Concerned Patrons of Mackay Racing, has publicly called for the Mackay Turf Club Committee to step aside, citing a “lack of confidence” among trainers and horse owners in the region.
What isn’t in question is last year’s $7.40 million track upgrade is providing an essential lifeline to North Queensland stakeholders during the summer storms.
– Karl Patterson