Elite hoops impress in Ipswich
THREE former Queensland Jockeys of the Year combined to win more than half the card at Ipswich’s latest race meeting.
Despite it being a Thursday program, the top trainers and jockeys made the trip to Ipswich.
In the first race, former globetrotting jockey Michael Cahill was successful with the Peter Balzen trained Best of Pluck.
The three-year-old filly has high profile connections being owned by Sydney media personalities Ray Hadley and John Singleton. There were big plans early for Best Of Pluck as she was trained by Clarry Connors at Warwick Farm for nine unplaced runs around the greater Sydney region.
Last month Best of Pluck was transferred to the Peter Balzen stable and at her third Queensland start was able to collect her maiden win under the urgings of Cahill.
It was a similar story for another galloper Hardley a few years ago.
Hardley was and still is owned in the same interests. After not being able to get going in Sydney, Hardley was transferred to Balzen’s Gold Coast stable.
Hardley promptly won his first two starts at Ipswich in late 2013 as a three-year-old.
It remains to be seen whether Best of Pluck can follow the same path as Hardley did.
Cahill was the premier jockey in Queensland a few years ago, riding as many winners as any other jockey in Australia in that season.
JIM Byrne and former South African Jeff Lloyd have each claimed the billing of Queensland’s top jockey over the past couple of years.
Each were also in the winner’s list on Thursday at Ipswich.
Lloyd had a profitable day collecting a double with the Toby Edmonds trained duo of Prontezza and Bold Adventure.
Fresh from claiming the Magic Millions Classic with exciting two-year-old Houtzen last month, trainer Edmonds and Lloyd continued their winning partnership.
Both Prontezza and Bold Adventure have recently moved interstate to the Edmonds Gold Coast stable and were each having their first starts at Ipswich.
Premier jockey Byrne collected win number 22 for the season aboard the Marcus Wilson trained The Equalizer.
The Equalizer collected his fourth career win and moved his prizemoney tally to $64,000.
Another of Queensland’s top trainers winning in the final event on Thursday was the Robert Heathcote trained Ocean City, with Anthony Allen in the saddle.
Ocean City is another to have recently moved north after being previously trained by David Payne at Rosehill in Sydney.
It was just the second start for the Heathcote stable for Ocean City indicating an ability to win again soon in SEQ in a suitable race.
Group 1 all Heart
THE C F Orr Stakes signalled the start of Australian Autumn Group 1 racing and the winner was Black Heart Bart who took his career earnings in excess of $3 million with his fourth Group 1 win.
The Lightning Stakes is contested next week before a two state Group 1 day on February 25 at Caulfield in Melbourne and Randwick in Sydney.
February racing at Ipswich continues on Friday. It is completed next Thursday before moving onto March racing, which has meetings on three Fridays and a Thursday.