When the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara meeting is run according to Sky Channel, that’s the end of the Brisbane Winter Carnival for another year. In their official advertising on their racing television station, Sky Channel bids farewell to the Brisbane Winter Carnival for another year, as per the associated Brisbaneracing photograph today. Racing Retro goes into recess – but as I write here annually I have no idea why they do that. What about getting some younger talent on a show like Racing Retro to display their talents? On second thoughts that wouldn’t work as it pays not to have an opinion in racing if you work in racing radio or racing television stations – as you are employed only from the neck down. Just be patronising to everyone all of the time is the key to keeping your job. Personally I find listening to the what I’d call “vomitable tripe” after each race is run on TVN totally ridiculous. It seems to me that the winning jockey always rides “a great race” and that he or she is a good jockey and is generally “underrated”. The trainer’s always “a good bloke (or woman) with a horse” and it’s all fairytale stuff that even Walt Disney couldn’t portray as well. Some jockey can go around the middle of the track in what I’d deem “a hopeless ride” but if the horse happens to win, simply because the opposition were so bad, the jockey put in “a great ride”.

Some of the ones I enjoyed last Saturday were that now Star Rolling might be a Cups horse. The Cleaner has suddenly changed stables after his all the way win. Why can’t they just travel him there next time he runs and do the same thing? Pago Rock which went like an absolute dromedary at its previous start is now strong to the line at the end of his race up the straight. Cooldini could be anything. Space went around the middle of the track with a kid on him who told a subsequent stewards enquiry that she “could not hold the gelding any longer”. Why at that point didn’t stewards haul the trainers in and tell them that the girl said she couldn’t hold the horse, so would they please put a senior jockey on this horse until he’s proven that through more racing he’ll become more tractable and will now settle for an apprentice? At $3.70 it was pretty to watch the girl go around the middle of the track on the horse if you laid the horse to get beaten on Betfair, but not as exciting to watch if you backed the horse to win with your favourite bookie or TAB. The race was officially 2000 metres but God knows how far Space ran. Why didn’t the TVN people give that situation the big rev it justly deserved? Always remember that apprentices get a claim for a reason – the effort of the apprentice on Space showed us why. It’s all so ridiculous that it defies belief that absolutely nothing was done to protect the punting public in the future after the girl said she went where and when she did as she “could not hold the gelding any longer”.

In Brisbane the Tatt’s Cup finished up a classic race for non-achievers. Rialya hadn’t won a race for 15 months since he got home by a head in the 2012 Adelaide Cup on 12/3/12, but that didn’t stop him winning the Tatt’s Cup.

Second in, in the Tatt’s Cup was Shenzhou Steeds. He hasn’t won a race in the preceding 51 weeks up to last Saturday since winning the Caloundra Cup on 30/6/12. He’ll be back to defend his crown there next Saturday and some of “the boys” are excited by that prospect. The problem is, in 11 starts after the 2012 Caloundra Cup win, up until last Saturday’s placing in the Tatt’s Cup, he’d run just one placing in those 11 starts and that was when he ran a lean third, beaten a furlong – 3.5 lengths to Streets Away and Back In Black with that enigma Doctor Fremantle fourth, in the 2012 Kyneton Cup.

Rothera ran third in the Tatt’s Cup. He’d won just one race in the last 19 months, so he rarely wins and he showed that his $2.70 price last Saturday was way too short. Nevertheless the minute we get a slow or heavy track again “the boys” will all want to tip him and tell you he’s a good thing. Horses with his CV are never “a good thing”.

Fourth in the Tatt’s Cup was import Ibicenco. He’s won just one race in the last 26 months. Can you please see a pattern emerging here for just how bad that field was?

Clocking in fifth in the Tatt’s Cup was Fibrillation and she hasn’t won a race anywhere in the last 14 months, the point being that the Tatt’s Cup surely consisted of a bunch of total non-achievers.

In my opinion there was a terrific ride at Eagle Farm last Saturday that deserves special mention and that was by apprentice Kirk Matheson on Discreet in Race 3. He was on the $2.40 favourite and “they” had him snookered on the home turn, but he remained calm and didn’t panic and bided his time getting the filly into the clear. As he attempted to get in to the clear, Jim Byrne on Little Long Horn tried to shunt him back in, but Matheson stayed cool, calm and collected, got the filly out of trouble, balanced her up – and got the money. It was a terrific ride by an apprentice and he’s the only apprentice that rode a winner on the day last Saturday at Eagle Farm, so well done to the young man. Maybe they could send him down to Melbourne to ride Space?

On another point, the small amount of rain that some South-East Queensland racetracks need to receive before the meeting is called off was borne out again over last Friday and last Saturday. Ipswich city received about 9.5 mm of rain Friday in drizzle all day – the club say they got 15mm – and that’s not much rain, but nevertheless the industry lost most of the Ipswich thoroughbred meeting. Then the following afternoon the Marburg harness meeting had to be postponed 24 hours when the track was deemed unsuitable to race on as the horses couldn’t get any traction. So steady and soaking rain proved the death knell of both meetings, yet had the 9.5 mm, or 15mm, call it what you like, happened in a downpour over say 10 minutes, a lot of it would have run off and both meetings would have possibly gone ahead.

There was a good news story emanating from the Caloundra meeting last Sunday that hasn’t had any airplay. Up until last Sunday – 2013 had been a year that Caloundra trainer John Johnston and his wife Pauline would rather forget. In April this year the family lost three horses – half the horses they had in work – due to a freakish and well publicised electrical fault that occurred at the stables that their horses were in. At the time it was understandably devastating for John, Pauline and their three daughters Paige 10, Kayla 9 and Ashleigh 6 – as well as the horses owners. John told Justracing last night that “we haven’t got the full electrical report back yet (from the accident), but it may be available later this week”.

Subsequent to that accident John now rents eight boxes from leading local trainer Trevor Miller and Pauline accepted the job as stable foreman for the Trevor Miller stable after working with local trainer Jason McLachlan for the previous six years. John noted, “Trevor has just been terrific to my family. He was the first person there after the horses were electrocuted and he’s been very supportive ever since, offering me the stable accommodation and so on”.

Last Sunday John took two of his stable runners to the Caloundra TAB meeting, namely Splash And Dash and Little Miss Molly and by the time the sun had set over the horizon that afternoon, John Johnston had trained a winning double – not bad considering John only has seven horses in work currently. The effort was even more meritorious given the fact that both winners are full relations as both are by the stallion Minardi out of the Scenic mare Showers of Gold. Splash And Dash is three years older than Little Miss Molly and Splash And Dash was resuming from a 10-month spell, so it was a good training effort by John to have his horse right to win first up after so long off. (There is a file photo of Splash and Dash in the Brisbaneracing website photos today)

Asked last night if he thought that the pair could win last Sunday John replied, “I thought that the 2YO filly Little Miss Molly could win and I thought if Splash And Dash raced up to his best, he’d just about win, so it was a very satisfying result for the stable. Splash And Dash had a few niggling injuries last time he raced in August of 2012, so the owner Leigh Wason and I decided to give him a good long break and that seems to have done the trick, as he’s pulled up a treat after the win. I have a very good trackwork rider – Jimmy Swales – and he rides all my seven horses that are in work every morning and he’s a big asset to the stable and he was very happy with their work leading into their race”.

When queried as to how Alisha Taylor came to ride both Splash And Dash and Little Miss Molly to victory last Sunday, John stated, “I offered her the ride on both horses as she’s a pretty hard worker. She’s always first at trackwork and last to leave. She rode them both very well”.

Today on there is the first of two montages of photos from Eagle Farm last Saturday and Marburg harness action on Sunday. On Bernard Kenny catches up with Allen Windross, whilst on a Victorian apprentice is profiled.

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