Apprentice jockey Ty Wheeler won his first race at Chinchilla on Saturday, July 4.
Apprentice jockey Ty Wheeler won his first race at Chinchilla on Saturday, July 4.

Young apprentice takes out his first win

The racing calendar won’t seem quite the same for so many in the Central Highlands after it was confirmed the 2020 edition of the iconic Twin Hills races wouldn’t be going ahead.

With restrictions beginning to ease in recent times the Twin Hills Race Club Secretary Jasmin Scharf said the committee was hopeful of running the outback event but it wasn’t to be after plenty of thought and heart break.

A message on behalf of the committee was posted to social media last Thursday morning.

“Sadly, with less than three months to go, we have made the decision to call off the Twin Hills races scheduled for September 2020,” it read.

“The health of our visiting racing enthusiasts and punters and all those living here in outback Queensland is of paramount importance to us.

“We do not want to put anyone’s health at risk and we especially want to protect our own district and place the needs of our local communities first at this time.”

Scharf said the club would be back bigger and better next year and hoped everyone would understand the clubs difficult decision.

Race callers

In a massively disappointing decision, Barcaldine boy Josh Fleming, will be replaced by David Fowler as the number one race-caller in Brisbane at all Eagle Farm and Doomben meetings as a part of the new SKY racing contract with the Brisbane Racing Club.

To the country racing fraternity the decision has come as a huge surprise with Fleming being one of Australia’s best race callers since taking over the number one spot at SKY from Alan Thomas in December 2015.

Fleming, who grew up in Barcaldine doesn’t get involved in the politics of racing and just lets his race calling do all the talking.

Every street corner in racing in Queensland and Australia regard him as undisputedly the number one broadcaster of the sport in the sunshine state.

Fleming who made the time to attend this years country racing awards night in Emerald along with using his annual leave every year to call at the annual Birdsville races was extremely passionate about racing in the country and will continue business as normal despite the setback and just cop it on the chin.

Fleming will continue to be employed by SKY to call race meetings outside of Brisbane in southeast Queensland.

Fleming has been calling country and provincial race meetings in New South Wales for SKY Racing since 2003 after winning the John Tapp Scholarship.

At the time of his appointment in 2015 to replace Alan Thomas, Fleming said “it’s a dream come true to be given this role as Queensland number one race caller”.

“I’m a Queensland boy and can’t wait to start in late December.

“I called Stradbroke’s when I was practising to be a race caller.

“This is incredible.”

Alan Thomas groomed Fleming for the position and has not only been a mentor but is still a close friend.

It is almost unheard of to be appointed to a position as a race caller and be dumped for no reason.

For the time being Fleming’s dream may have become a nightmare – largely because he doesn’t have the political pull or get involved with it but this change will only be temporary – times change, so do people who make these decisions.

Hopefully the decision can be reversed before August 1 due to the public outcry which is raging among those in the racing industry with what is visible on the surface appears to be disgraceful decision and treatment of the best race-caller in Queensland.

First win

Glenda Bell had plenty to smile about last Saturday when Ty Wheeler broke through for his first win as an apprentice jockey at Chinchilla Wheeler spent several months at Bells learning the craft.

After several injury setbacks, Wheeler broke through for his maiden win on Striking Princess for Darling Downs trainer Gary Schwenke.

Wheeler only had two rides at the meeting and walked away with a 50 per cent strike rate and close to $1000 in riding fees and slings.

Wheeler gave up his job in the mining industry and has pursued a riding career firstly with Lyle Wright and then at Bell’s Hogan’s road stables and is now based in Towoomba with John Thomas.

Bell said she would have loved to have kept Ty but there is a lot more opportunity in the south east corner.

“I couldn’t hold him back when he was offered the opportunity,” she said.


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