Kilcoy’s first TAB meeting for nine years was staged at the ‘’Moonee Valley of the north’’ last Monday.
Despite two hiccups – wet weather and a false start, the meeting produced some memorable performances.
The track was rated as a ‘’good 3’’ despite light showers persisting for much of the day.
RACE 1: BECHLY’S TRANSPORT MAIDEN, 1200 metres:
Max Guldbransen has been training horses in the Kilcoy area since the 1970s. He returned to the scene of some of his greatest triumphs to win with Fitting Finale. Starting from gate one, Bill Abbey had the four years old by Collate positioned just behind the pacemakers to the home turn. Easing around their heels, Abbey brought Fitting Finale with a well timed run to beat Benji Bullet and Little Audrey.
Back in the 1970s, Kilcoy was one of the first clubs in Queensland to stage races for lady riders. That was in the days before the women were licensed to ride against the men. Max’s daughter Jill rode in a number of those races.
RACE 2: DICK FERLING/SEARLE’S GARDEN PRODUCTS QTIS 3yo MDN., 1060 metres:
Lacey Morrison, one of the remarkable comeback jockey stories, rode a perfect race to get the Pat Duff trained Pollaxe home in runaway style. The Jetspur filly, racing in the blue and white butcher striped colours of the Lavin family from the Sunshine Coast, beat Platinum Mint and the unlucky Ni Houlihan who copped a backwash of interference mid race near Menzie’s Lagoon.
This race was named for Dick Ferling, the recently retired president of the Kilcoy Race Club. Ferling had been president for 44 years, an Australian record. At the trophy presentation, Pat Duff stated that Kilcoy holds special memories for him, as he was a trackwork rider there back in the 1960s.
‘’The Ferling family were involved way back then and I really wanted to try and win this race named after Dick. It’s an honour to win the race,’’ Duff told the crowd of 1050 people.
RACE 3: BOOKIES CLUB MAIDEN PLATE, 800 metres:
Declared no race when the gates were released before the starter activated them. At least three riders stated that their mounts were not ready for the start, awaiting the call from the starter to prepare for the jump. The full field of 12 completed the course and no re run was possible.
RACE 4: BUTLER McDERMOTT LAWYERS BENCHMARK 70, 1500 metres:
Kel Wharton brought the Keith Shelton trained Bustopher Jones with a well timed run from midfield to gather in the leaders and score in runaway style. Stigori was second with Mimics claiming third prize.
Wharton said he has not ridden at Kilcoy since the days of the club being part of the Friday TAB circuit nine years ago. ‘’The track surface is brilliant, you couldn’t fault it,’’ Wharton declared.
RACE 5: SOMERSET REGIONAL COUNCIL CLASS 2, 1200 metres:
Lani Fancourt didn’t enjoy much luck in the previous race when her mount, the well fancied Sezwho, got carted right off the track going around the first turn. But she quickly bounced back to land the Ben Currie trained Like A Gee Six a narrow winner in a close, three way finish. Shannon Apthorpe on Shiner had a narrow lead within the shadows of the winning post but Like A Gee Six lunged to put the nose in front right on the wire. The official winning margin was a head, with a half head to Silverberg in third spot. Winning trainer Ben Currie had placegetters at Ipswich and Toowoomba within the previous few days, so was due for a change of luck. Currie has 22 horses in work in Toowoomba.
Like a Gee Six was the 30th career win for Lani Fancourt. She spent time working in the Pat Duff Deagon stable before being licensed to ride in races.
RACE 6: $20,000 COUNTRY QUEENSLAND SHOWCASE BENCHMARK 85 HDCP., 1060 metres:
Grand old performer Pattie’s Mate faced the starter for the 100th time in his lengthy career and chalked up win number 16. With regular trackwork and race rider Ray Hancock in the saddle, the nine years old son of Monashee Mountain scored by half a head. Lyall Appo on Carmenator secured a needle eye opening on the rails on the home turn and grabbed what looked to be a race winning victory. But Pattie’s Mate (pictured), ever so familiar with the Kilcoy circuit, lunged right where it counts – on the line – to gain the judge’s verdict. Appo was seen shaking his head as he returned to scale, as if to say – what else could I do to win? The answer is, short of getting off and carrying the horse, nothing more !! Early leader Zahbaj held on for third.
Pattie’s Mate is trained at nearby Woodford by Shane Barling who was understandably rapt to win the big prizemoney race of the day. ‘’The horse has won three country cups, including a Kilcoy Cup, and a listed race at Eagle Farm,’’ Barling said.
The trainer said he was as happy for the winning jockey as himself, as Ray Hancock is a very dedicated worker for the stable.
Shane Barling received a free service to Top Echelon, with the stallion's part owner Shane Chataway on hand to present the certificate. Connections of the second and third placegetters also received a service fee to Top Echelon who stands at Craigleaa Stud at Kenilworth, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland area..
RACE 7: KILCOY PASTORAL COMPANY CLASS 1, 1060 metres.
A capacity field of twelve faced the starter. Mac Guldbransen completed the ‘’bookends’’ – the first and last races, when Little Mrs. Murphy scored in a well judged ride by Cyril Small.
‘’It was nice to see Max win the first race and I was hoping he could win the last too,’’ Small quipped before the event.
Little Mrs. Murphy jumped from barrier five and that was the widest winning barrier all day. Apart from race three that is, the ‘’no race’’ where Dangerous Edition was first across the line from barrier twelve but had gained an unfair advantage at barrier rise.
Little Mrs. Murphy beat early leader Zatsacat and the strong finishing Susashi into third place.
Recently elected Kilcoy R.C. president Con Searle conveys his thanks to the dozens of people who helped in the organisation of last Monday’s meeting, and to the people who attended.
‘’No club is a one man band and here at Kilcoy, we have a really strong band of workers. It’s really amazing and heartening that they do so much to keep the place alive,’’ Searle said.
‘’Our club feels that we have been given a real vote of confidence by the board of Racing Queensland Limited. To be reintroduced to the TAB circuit is just fantastic.’’
RQL chairman Kevin Dixon attended last Monday’s races and declared that the October public holiday Monday each year would be a TAB fixture for Kilcoy.
‘’RQL doesn’t take all the credit. We couldn’t have put on this day without the assistance of the LNP government,’’ Dixon said.
‘’I know it’s a long way from Kilcoy, the next Country Queensland Showcase TAB race day will be at Innisfail on New Year’s Day and I hope people will give it good support as happened here today,’’ Dixon said.
The next Kilcoy race meeting will be a non TAB card on Saturday, January 26 next year.
Racing in the south-east Queensland circuit heads to Nanango's Lee Park this Saturday (October 6). The Gayndah Jockey Club races the following Saturday, October 13, followed by the Wondai Cup card on Caulfield Cup day, October 20. Then it's the Gympie Cup on Cox Plate Day, October 27.
On the Darling Downs, it's the Talwood cup this Saturday, Warwick Cup day on October 13 followed by Stanthorpe's Cup meeting on October 20.
Story by Paul Dolan and Bill Hourigan, photo by Michael McInally.