Female jockeys dominated New Year’s Eve race meet
THE 2019 edition of the New Year’s Eve twilight race meeting proved why it has now well and truly anchored itself as a permanent fixture on the Central Highland region’s social calendar.
While plenty attended the meeting with the sole aim of backing a New Year’s Eve winner, most went along simply to soak up the electric festive New Year’s party atmosphere that Mary Bulger and her team at the Emerald Jockey Club served up.
There was plenty of great food with a special mention to German style hot dogs that were a big hit with patrons on course.
The two fireworks displays went off with a bang and the crowd of over 1000 patrons on-course partied well into the night with Rockhampton band The Shortfall keeping the big crowd grooving to bring in the new year at Pioneer Park.
The feature event on the program, the 1200 metre maiden plate saw the second running of the Herb and Deidre Milne Memorial Plate.
A big gathering of the Milne family were on-course to cheer home Grandmas Dynamo who finished unplaced first up from a spell.
Centaur ($5) took out the event in an impressive effort with Sonja Wiseman in the saddle.
In a perfectly timed and judged ride, the well-backed Centaur sat on the pace from the barriers and turning for home, Wiseman asked the lightly raced former NSW galloper to extend kicking away to doggedly hold off the late challenge of Ross Vaggs Paper Talk ($5.50).
It was a powerful finish giving one of the good guys in racing, Rockhampton trainer Allan Clark, a late Christmas gift as Centaur is raced by his daughter Kristy Clark Peoples, son-in-law David Peoples and his two grandsons Louie and Ollie Peoples.
Centaur was only having its second start for the stable after being re-educated in it’s new rural surroundings at Clarke’s Gracemere property, which has brought the best out in the galloper. The win will be one to remember for Darwin based military soldier Louis Peoples and his partner Jade Snow, who has just returned from a seven-month tour of Iraq with the soldiers sharing some rest and relaxation time landing some solid bets and making it a family Christmas with grandad they won’t forget in a hurry.
Leading provincial Rockhampton jockey Elyce Smith combined with Glenda Bell to take out the class 3 plate on the program with No Finer Jet ($2.45) finishing with a wet sail charging past Authentic Swing ($3.90) in the shadows of the post.
Elyce Smith and Thomas Doyle tied for the Woods Tyres premier Pioneer Park jockey of the year award.
Also, Emerald Jockey Club president Mary Bulger’s veteran galloper Clappers trained by Glenda Bell who held off Raymond Williams galloper Shigeru Mahogany’s late charge, tied with Zorro Femino to take out the Woods Tyres Pioneer Park horse of the year award.
The first lady of racing in Emerald Glenda Bell took out the Pioneer Park trainer of the year award with Raymond Williams finishing in second placing.
Roy Woods, a great contributor to racing in Emerald was rewarded earlier in the day when his galloper Zorro Femino $3.00, who took out the first race on the program the 1000 metre bench 50 handicap in a tough gritty front running display with Hannah Phillips in the saddle.
The last race on the program was taken out by Lucifers Angel in the most dominant win of the day.
The Dennis Shultz trained Lucifers Angel swung the pendulum back to the bookies with the Gladstone trained runner being punched out to the line like a short priced 6/4 favourite in another masterful Sonja Wiseman ride who took the riding honours with a double.
All five races were taken out by the female riders at the meeting with come back jockey Tash Chambers taking out race 2 on the program on Ararrac for Yeppoon trainer Alan Jenkinson.
The next race meet in the Highlands is on February 8 at Pioneer Park.