Horse racing continues at Emerald’s Pioneer Park.
Horse racing continues at Emerald’s Pioneer Park.

Almost $100k at weekend races

THE racing action heads to Pioneer Park for Easter Saturday, with the Central Highlanders welcoming the Central West teamster gallopers over the Drummond Range to do battle.

Emerald Jockey Club President Mary Bulger said those at the club were keen to keep racing going in these trying times and the meeting would be essential licensed personnel only, with strict biosecurity measures in place due to the coronavirus pandemic gripping the world.

Racing fans will have the opportunity to kick back in the comfort of their own home and continue to isolate and have a bet with the eight-race program at Pioneer Park being run with Tab and full sky one coverage.

With $98,000 in prize money, the richest race on the program will be the $28,000 benchmark 1000-metre maiden handicap.

The one that stands out on paper is the lightly raced Todd Austin trained runner Red Red Rose, who ticks several boxes and will feature in the finish.

The main danger comes from Glenda Bell. Hogan’s Road Yard Summer Lea is well placed under the race conditions and Bell will have the five-year-old mare fit and looks a great each way bet on the Pioneer Park program.

Glenda Bell has her stable star Fastnet Flyer tuned up for the 1300-metre open handicap on the program after a slashing first up fifth placing at Callaghan Park in Rockhampton recently. The grand old campaigner will be highly competitive and will be there when the whips are cracking at Pioneer Park.

Todd Austin’s runner Eschielle looks the main danger along with Mark Oates runner Our Beatnik, who will be primed for a second up assault and will be finishing strongly late.

At last, Central Highlands based jockey Elyce Smith combined with her brother Thomas Smith, who is based in Rockhampton should take out the rich $31,500 QTIS maiden with Ask me Tomorrow ($2.20) who is raced by Colin Bell, a member of the Central Highlands Bell Racing dynasty.

Tom Smith only has to live up to half of his name sake the great Tom (Tj) Smith to be a success.

Elyce and Tom are part of the next generation of racing in Central Queensland and Tom would have to be very close to being youngest licensed trainer in Australia.

The racing action heads back to Pioneer Park on April 25 with the Emerald Jockey Club hosting a six-race program with another $78,000 to be distributed in prize money.

Sydney success

Local owners Russ Collins and RJ Stewart experienced one of the greatest thrills in their many years in horse racing ownership together with Eric the Eel running third in the $1.25 million AJC derby in Sydney behind New Zealand galloper Quick Thinker.

Collins and Stewart are not ones to spruik their racing interests and have owned several well performed gallopers together including Doubtfilly, who ran fourth in the Golden Slipper and their current iron horse Tarzan who is a multiple metropolitan winning galloper.

Eric the Eel.
Eric the Eel.

All of Collins’ and Stewart’s racing interests are raced under the triers syndicate banner.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, Eric the Eel was transferred from his Sunshine Coast stable of Stuart Kendrick to Bjorn Baker in Sydney to take his place in the derbys.

Eric the Eel is named after Eric Moussambani Malonga, who is a swimmer from Equatorial Guinea.

Nicknamed “Eric the Eel” by the media, Moussambani won brief international fame at the 2000 Summer Olympics for an extremely unlikely victory in a 100-metre heat after all of his fellow competitors were disqualified.

From 14 starts, Eric the Eel has made his owners close to $250,000 in prizemoney and there could be a real possibility of the Eel lining up in next year’s Melbourne Cup for Collins and Stewart.

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