I got to thinking after Brave Ali led all the way to win the Ipswich Cup last Saturday that maybe it’s time to tweak the race. I mean, if you think about it logically, Brave Ali got attacked from a long way out, so he was entitled to be as weak as the skin on a rice pudding late, but he was still in front on the finish line. That all begs the question a) is he a worldbeater, or b) did he just beat a bunch of slugs?

So to that end, I got to thinking that if the answer on the balance of probability is b), so therefore my proposal is to extend the race from 2150 metres to 3200 metres and turn it into a hurdle race, if the two hurdle races that were run last Sunday at Bendigo are any guide. And even if the two hurdle races at Bendigo last Sunday were as boring as watching grass grow and/or paint dry, that racecaller Rick McIntosh could make them sound interesting. He was clearly cut out for that job that bloke. I was driving in the car when I heard the Gai Waterhouse trained Galiando beat Ciaron Maher’s Moudre in the Maiden Hurdle and was also driving when Darren Weir’s Gotta Take Care won 36 minutes later and McIntosh’s call got me thinking that we could do with a once a year hurdle in Queensland – and what better place to have it than Ipswich – when many attendees on the day are vertically challenged anyway by about 2pm.

So rather than just come up with the idea and throw it out there in the marketplace, I’ve even thought it through to the point of putting a list of horses names together that the club could invite to next year’s inaugural event. Naturally we want it to be a competitive race so we don’t want Gotta Take Care in the field, so he’s been left out intentionally.

My proposed field and a comment on each runner is:





Gerald Ryan

Can’t win one on the flat so why persist? It’s been 31 months since he needed to find the winner’s circle, so he’ll need a traffic cop to direct him there, if he ever scores again. Put a few brushes in front of him and he might actually grow a leg. How come you haven’t thought of that Gerry? Maybe you need a racing advisor?


Pat Carey

Punters have had enough of this chaffbandit on the flat, so the sticks would represent a new challenge for him.


Len Treloar

This little treasure wanted to run on over 2150 metres at the same track last Saturday, so 3200 should be ideal.


Rob Heathcote

Struggling to win one – anywhere. He’s on his last leg surely – so why not try something different?


Stu Mackinnon

Placed in an Ipswich Cup in 2013 so he knows the track. Hasn’t won a race for so long that even his mother has given up on him, so why not? That would be 60 Minutes tearjerker stuff – a reunion of mother and son if the boy could win the Ipswich Cup Hurdle.


Mike Moroney

He can’t win on the flat for 19 months, so that looks like a lost cause. Shove a few logs in front of him and see how he copes with that. Plus we see that much of Mike Moroney in the Winter Carnival each year that he may as well move here permanently.


Bryan Guy

Seen wanting to try to run on over 2150 metres last Saturday when second in that great and memorable Cup. Has he got the ticker to go just another 950 metres at full throttle after ingesting all that sea air each day? Let’s find out.


Brian Smith

Has won just one race in the last 17 months and that was in a photo, but he’s on on-pacer and as such he would get a good look at his fences, so why not? Had been unplaced at his last seven starts before last Saturday when he ran third to Brave Ali, so maybe he’s just coming good now.


Brian Smith

Hasn’t won for years but was with John Wheeler in New Zealand before being sadly sent to Brisbane. It’s possible “Wheels” schooled him there. A dark horse in a hurdle. Fancy a Kiwi quinella of Wheeler and Smith. Bookies will be twitchy.


Jason McLachlan

Didn’t want to load into the barriers two starts back but as we get older we all have some quirky things happening in out head. He hasn’t won for 50 months. Maybe he’s becoming a thinker. A few big and unforgiving logs in front of him will give him something to think about.


Christopher Waller

Getting giddy going around the flat. A little trip north slipping past border guards at Tweed Heads might wake him up to himself as gun fire rings out behind him. Plus the warm sun on his back might help. What about a swim at Nudgee Beach at high tide in a cyclone? What about a trip to the middle of the Gateway Bridge and make him look over the edge? Why don’t “champion trainers” think like me – as to how to switch a horse on?


Christopher Waller

Could be used for a “pin the tail on the donkey” horse at a kids’ fete in Ipswich on the Saturday – then race at the Ipswich Cup Hurdle later that afternoon.


Gerald Ryan

Charged to the line two starts back then did absolutely nought last Saturday. I reckon he needs a few fallen logs in front of him to understand just how easy flat racing is.


Gai Waterhouse

Brought to Australia to win a two-mile Melbourne Cup. How about a two-mile hurdle at Ipswich and the trainer could be on course with all the drunks and ferals to present the Gai Waterhouse Classic trophy in the race named after her? She could think she was going for a drive around Redfern at 10pm Friday night in a convertible.


Peter Moody

It would be good to have Peter in Queensland. He could speak at a function and if he brought this now achieving mare to Ipswich she’d blend in well.


Joseph Pride

We need a pacemaker for the race – it was either this horse or Za Magic and I think Za Magic must be retired – so Keep Cool can be the pacemaker.


Leon Corstens

He’s been to Queensland before and he liked the joint. Can’t win a race anywhere, but nor can most of the others, so he won’t look out of place.


David Hayes

Another big race trainer that would enjoy the culture shock of being surrounded by drunks and ferals at Ipswich. Since he’s been gelded this horse has never finished further back than second, so maybe now that he tips the scales two-stone lighter than he did in 2013, he’s become a progressive type and a career over the fences awaits?


Mike Moroney

A Queensland favourite. Who could ever forget this bloke being the toast of the Queensland racing industry in 2012 when he won both the Ipswich Cup and Caloundra Cup in the one year. What a feat – two great races like that. But sadly he hasn’t won a race since, so Earth to all parties: “I reckon he needs the sticks”.


Allan Pike

Racecaller Alan Thomas reckons she wants to run on, yet I reckon she can’t run 2400 metres. Let’s put her in a 3200-metre hurdle and find out who is right.


Ciaron Maher

A total non-achiever that couldn’t win a Maiden hurdle last Sunday at Bendigo. Hasn’t won since soon after Cookie discovered Australia, but this will be a weak hurdle, so he’ll get his chance to star.


Peter Moody

Can’t win a race anywhere – but 3200 if he could just get a bog track would give him a chance.


Michael Nolan

He’s well named as he’d been dodging the winners stall until his Gatton Cup victory the other day. Annually the Gatton Cup winner should get automatic entry into the Ipswich Cup hurdle. Surely it’s just a natural progression.


Justracing can advise that the Ipswich Cup Hurdle would be programmed as the last race on the card, so that the slow ones at least can’t hold up the next race.

I spoke to some of the main players to try to give both my readers a head start to find the winner.

“Look Phelan Ready settled last and ran last in the Eye Liner last start, so it’s not rocket science to work out he just needs more ground. Let’s give him a go over the sticks and see if that’s what he needs. He either needs the sticks, or some snotty nosed feral teenager with no respect for anything or anyone getting him as an equestrian horse”, trainer Jason McLachlan didn’t tell Justracing.

“Champion Sydney trainer” Chris Waller didn’t tell Justracing, “Look I could fill the whole (expletive) race field up if need be, with some of the non-achievers in my stable. Good God where would I start. Lift up a piece of corrugated iron at my joint and some legless imported thing from England, France, Germany, Botswana, Kazakhstan or somewhere will run out. Just tell me how many slow ones and pretenders you need. But TAB tickets only go up to number 24 don’t they, so I’ll have to be selective”?

Melbourne trainer Peter Moody was raised in Queensland. He didn’t tell Justracing, “I love Queensland. I was born and raised there. It’s no secret that all my old roots are in Queensland, so I love going back there. Everyone loves going back to their old roots. I backed a loser last night when the blues beat Queensland, but that’s life. How can they get beaten twice in row? Even Ajax only got beaten the once at 40/1 on. Maybe sack Meninga and give me a go with the maroons as I did okay with the good mare that time hey? And in any event wouldn’t Full of Spirit be an omen tip for all the drunks and ferals at Ipswich on Cup Hurdle day. Vatuvei, well he needs rain – and a gear change of lung and leg transplant on”.

70-odd year old Brisbane based trainer Brian Smith didn’t tell Justracing, “I’d be pleased to help the Ipswich club out as I have a couple of slow ones in my stable that would blend in well at Ipswich. I try not to think of their form too much, or when the alarm goes off at 4am I’d become all negative and roll over and shove the pillow over my head and put the alarm on snooze for half an hour. Look, I won the 1976 Brisbane Cup with Balmerino then took him all round the world, so I’m no dill with a horse as both your readers will know. I was real happy with the run of Jetset Lad last Saturday. They reckon New Zealand punters were so happy to get rid of him out of their country that they lined the dock at Auckland when they exported him to Australia on a ship. Naturally he hadn’t earned enough prizemoney in recent years to be flown over to Oz. I know he hasn’t won for years, but name the next decent horse Wheels (John Wheeler) had after Rough Habit. Plus I got married a year or two ago to a new beau. I forget what year it was. But marriage is good for you. Look what it’s done for that young Gollan bloke. Geez hasn’t he got his eye in since he got married? When he said he was going to get married I tried to give him a bit of advice. I told him the first year of marriage with the honeymoon thing is great, when they hang from the chandeliers and stuff – and after that it sort of goes downhill, but of course you can’t tell young people anything. They think you’re an old fossil.”

The “first lady of Sydney racing is Gai Waterhouse,” which actually begs the question who are the second, third and fourth ladies of Sydney racing, as no one in mainstream media ever makes any reference to any of them? Anyway Justracing asked her for a comment on Tres Blue becoming a hurdler and she didn’t tell me, “Look I thought he was a Melbourne Cup horse, but this horse has me worried. Between Tres Blue and Ray Murrihy I need valium to sleep at night, or I have nightmares and wake up in a cold sweat. Tres Blue went like a crippled soldier crab during the Sydney Autumn Carnival and I accept that the ambulance beat him home in the Melbourne Cup last year, but you have to understand that it was an eight cylinder ambulance. In fact Tres Blue has been going so bad since he landed here that you’d swear Billy Bloggs from out the back of Bullamakanka trained him. I told his owners that he’d win a two miler and they automatically thought Melbourne Cup. But I guess a two-mile hurdle at Ipswich would still prove me right – wouldn’t it?”

Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au there’s the fourth and final montage of photos from the Marburg harness meeting last Saturday, plus the Ipswich Cup meeting. On www.sydneyracing.com.au there’s a breeding story, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au there’s a story on that mare Johannapine, which hasn’t scored for longer than the homeless bloke in the local park. Oh God no – she’s still racing. I thought she’d be barefoot and pregnant by now. Let us pray.

Harness Racing Offers and Promotions

Stay up to date with the latest racing news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest racing news!