Big Richie Callander’s weekend happenings



Champion jockey Hugh Bowman was expected to extend his lead over Brenton Avdulla who was sitting on the sideline due to suspension in the enthralling battle for the premiership last Saturday at Rosehill but came up with a duck egg when none of eight rides were able to win.

Bowman currently holds a slender lead of a ½ win having won 77 races compared to Avdulla’s 76 ½.

At the previous five city meetings at which stage Bowman was trailing Avdulla in the premiership he was able to ride 12 winners but it seems as soon as he found the front the winners dried up.

With four meetings remaining Wednesday’s card at Warwick Farm could well determine the outcome of the premiership.

Bowman has been booked for five rides on Wednesday all for leading trainer Chris Waller while Avdulla is set to have four rides all for different trainers.

Sometimes the end of a racing season can be a little dull but it won’t be for these two men as being declared the premier Sydney jockey for the 2016/17 season ranks as a huge accolade.




After breaking the news last week about the pending decision by RacingNSW to exclude Canberra trainers from competing in the TAB Highway races on Saturday race meetings in Sydney both parties are set to meet to thrash out the pros and cons of the pending decision.

If my mail is correct the Canberra trainers and NSW Trainers Association will have to have some cold hard facts and rock solid reasoning if they are to change the mind of the governing body.

TAB Highway races are restricted for country trainers in NSW yet come The Championships the trainers from the nation’s capital compete in the Provincial not Country championship.

But on the flip side Canberra trainers are registered with RacingNSW as country trainers.

Interesting decision coming up.




The bells are starting to ring that if star sprinter Spieth trials well at his first outing this preparation a deal will be inked with a slot owner.

No one wants to discuss but I hear trainer Bryce Heys and a couple of the owners have met with a slot owner and they have all but shaken hands on a deal.




We went into Saturday wondering who the better colt Siege Of Quebec or Calculated was and they didn’t let the fans down with a great tussle down the straight with the former going one up in what promises to be the first of many clashes.

Coolmore Stud part-own Siege Of Quebec who is by their top stallion Fastnet Rock so it was smiles all round and as an added bonus Calculated is sired by Bart Cumming’s former champion So You Think who also stands at hunter valley property.

The whispers around the stables are there are a lot of trainers excited by the progeny of So You Think.

Calculated races in Star Thoroughbreds colours of purple, white stars and cap but I wouldn’t be locking in just yet that he is the best son of So You Think carrying the colours of Denise Martin’s syndication company.

I was taken with the debut win of D’Argento at Newcastle on Saturday out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Fullazz.

This grey colt had shown ability at the trials but Saturdays 1200m was expected to be a fraction short but you had to be impressed with the way he attacked the line to grab victory in the final bounds.




The much awaited Dale Monteith report into the dramas at Eagle Farm is due out in the next few days.

We don’t know what the report is supposed to outline.

Is it going to detail whose fault it was, where the errors occurred, how they happened, how we fix the issues and how long before we are back racing at Eagle Farm.

I hope when all the fingering pointing is done we get moving quick smart so the track can be back up and racing well giving punters the confidence to bet on it.

That is the true way of finding out if it’s fixed.




Kathy O’Hara was interviewed last week for an upcoming feature article online at about her trek of Kokoda later this month to raise funds and awareness for the Mark Hughes Foundation and National Jockeys Trust.

One of Kathy’s answers caught my attention as it was spot on the mark plus it had a little challenge included.

Kathy was asked how she has prepared mentally for the Kokoda Trail.


I am pretty tough mentally; I’ve had to be being a female in such a male dominated sport as horse racing.

Not many female jockeys survive riding in Sydney against the boys for over a decade so I am hoping that toughness that has helped me be successful will help me with the trek of Kokoda.

I wonder if the boys will have the mental toughness.

I do.


No harm a little bit of cheek and competitive argy bargy.

To support Kathy and the other team members Hugh Bowman, Corey Brown, Stephen Baster and model and television presenter Kris Smith head to the dedicated website




Courtesy of anyone that donates $5 or more to support Kathy O’Hara and the team walking Kokoda as they raise money for Brain Cancer research and the jockeys trust could be hanging over the fence at Moonee Valley as WINX chases her third Cox Plate in October.

You know the front lawn at Moonee Valley right where the horses go on and off the famous track, well that is where the party is on and you could be there.

To donate, head to

Once donated, you will be automatically added to the draw.




I could easily give Jason Coyle the trainer of the week award following his double on Saturday at Rosehill with Insensata and listed Winter Stakes winner Slightly Sweet but instead I’ve decided to go with TWEET OF THE WEEK.


It’s been a while since I’ve seen something get under the skin of almost every trainer as much as the announcement by the Australian Turf Club that they will be spending $3 on a synthetic training track at Canterbury.

Four-time Golden Slipper winning trainer Clarry Conners declared it a ‘waste of money’ but it was Coyle’s short message that made me laugh.


“Synthetic surface will be a massive boost for Canterbury trainers… excuse me… sorry what… nobody trains there… oh… #notideal”

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