Thoroughbred race dates for 2020/21

Thoroughbred race dates for 2020/21

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Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.

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RACING Queensland has published its Thoroughbred race dates for the 2020/21 season.

In total, more than 450 TAB meetings will be staged across the state, headlined by the Brisbane Racing Club, while further feature meetings have been scheduled across Central and North Queensland. Both popular Country Cups and Battle of the Bush series are also expected to continue next season.

The BRC will conduct 73 meetings in 2020/21, and in line with the recommendations contained within the Monteith Report, Eagle Farm will conduct 35 meetings including those hosted by the Tattersall's Club.

Queensland's Group 1 races will continue to be split across Doomben and Eagle Farm, while existing feature meetings have been programmed across South East Queensland with the addition of Pink Ribbon Day on the Gold Coast. The feature days include:

  • Gold Coast Turf Club - The Wave, Magic Millions Day, The QTIS Jewel, Hollindale Stakes and Pink Ribbon Day;
  • Ipswich Turf Club - Ipswich Cup;
  • Toowoomba Turf Club - Toowoomba Cup; and
  • Sunshine Coast Turf Club - Mooloolaba Cup, Sunshine Coast Cup and Caloundra Cup.

While a number of biosecurity measures introduced during COVID-19 were eased last week, the early stages of the 2020/21 calendar have still been impacted by the global pandemic.

Toowoomba filly Kisukano and her many connections after the filly won this year's QTIS Jewel for 2YOs at the Gold Coast. The raceday will again be a feature event on the 2020/21 Queensland racing calendar. Picture: Magic Millions

Toowoomba filly Kisukano and her many connections after the filly won this year's QTIS Jewel for 2YOs at the Gold Coast. The raceday will again be a feature event on the 2020/21 Queensland racing calendar. Picture: Magic Millions

"While there's no major shifts in relation to the 2020/21 racing calendar, we're still navigating our way through COVID-19. As a result, we've had to make some changes to the early stages of the calendar, particularly on the non-TAB circuit, but we've been able to retain the vast majority of our race dates," RQ COO Adam Wallish said.

"Having successfully converted a number of non-TAB meetings to TAB, we have once again taken the opportunity to do so next season to ensure increased prize money for participants and greater wagering returns back to the industry. With the impacts of COVID-19 still reverberating around the world - not just here in Queensland - some further changes may still be required," he said.

Queensland sires have interstate winners

QUEENSLAND-based sires should be beneficiaries of three outstanding fillies and mares who won at Brisbane and Sydney last Saturday. They are:

  • Husson (Arg) (Aquis Stud, Canungra) whose daughters Vanna Girl and Cellarmaid were first and second respectively in the Group 2 The Roses (SW) (1800m) for 3YO fillies at Eagle Farm.
  • Love Conquers All (Clear Mountain-Fairview, Greenmount) whose 4YO daughter Love You Lucy won the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (WFA) (1400m) for fillies and mares at Eagle Farm.
  • Top Echelon (Oakwood Farm, Haigslea) whose 2YO daughter Lady Banff won the Darley 2YO handicap (1100m) at Rosehill.

Other Queensland-bred mares who performed well were 6YO River Racer by Lyndhurst-based Hidden Dragon who was runner-up in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes and 4YO Barefoot by veteran Show A Heart (fee on application) who won the 1600m Benchmark 78 handicap.

Kilcoy maiden to Group 2 victory

Four-year-old mare Love You Lucy (green cap, orange blinkers), ridden by Glen Colless, prevails in a tight finish to win the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes at Eagle Farm from River Racer (white cap, white winkers) on the rails. Picture: Racing Queensland

Four-year-old mare Love You Lucy (green cap, orange blinkers), ridden by Glen Colless, prevails in a tight finish to win the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes at Eagle Farm from River Racer (white cap, white winkers) on the rails. Picture: Racing Queensland

A 2YO MAIDEN winner at Kilcoy in April 2018 to a Group 2 winner at Brisbane some two years later - that's the remarkable progression of now 4YO mare Love You Lucy who won the 1400m Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes for fillies and mares (WFA) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

However it hasn't been a smooth progression with her sometimes fractious behaviour leading to her being twice scratched at the barrier and notably recently throwing her veteran 79-year-old Toowoomba trainer and former jockey Barry Squair which resulted in a dislocated collar and cut wrist.

In fact, Squair relied on another veteran jockey, 52-year-old Glen Colless, who prevailed in a tight finish. Three times Brisbane premier jockey, Colless is now semi-retired living at the Gold Coast, riding track-work at Chris Waller's Queensland stables and competing on Gold Coast race days.

Love You Lucy had just two starts as a 2YO for a second and a first followed by five starts as a 3YO filly for two placings. The best was still to come because as a 4YO mare Love You Lucy has started another 12 times for seven wins and three placings beginning with a 900m Class 1 win at the Gold Coast on September 14 last year and culminating with her Group 2 Dane Ripper win.

Other major wins sandwiched in-between were the 1300m Summer Provincial Final at Eagle Farm on December 21 and her first black type win in the Listed Gold Coast Silk Stocking (1200m) for fillies and mares on May 16 this year which provided her sire Love Conquers All (Mossman) his fourth individual stakes winner. Her overall race record now stands at eight wins and six placings from 19 starts with $366,325 prize money for her group of owners which her south Queensland breeders Leo and Maryann Goggins who paid just $3000 for her dam - the twice-winning Giant's Causeway (Ire) mare Whitechapel who in turn is from the Group 2 Flying Spur mare Spurn.

Vanna Girl's half-sister for sale at Inglis Round 2

Dominant 3YO filly Vanna Girl (blue and white colours ) ridden by Brad Stewart surges ahead to win the Group 2 The Roses at Eagle Farm. Picture: Racing Queensland

Dominant 3YO filly Vanna Girl (blue and white colours ) ridden by Brad Stewart surges ahead to win the Group 2 The Roses at Eagle Farm. Picture: Racing Queensland

A YEARLING half-sister to outstanding 3YO filly Vanna Girl will be one of the prized lots at next month's Inglis Easter Yearling Sale Round 2.

What is tracking to be the world's first physical yearling sale in months due to COVID-19 restrictions, Easter Round 2 will be held as a live auction at Riverside Stables in Sydney on Sunday, July 5.

An Inglis Classic graduate, Vanna Girl confirmed her status as one of the nation's leading 3YO fillies with a dominant win in the 1800m Group 2 The Roses at Eagle Farm on Saturday, June 13 which was her third consecutive Stakes win for Gold Coast trainers Toby and Trent Edmonds. Having now banked more than $371,000 prize money, the Edmonds stable paid just $40,000 for Vanna Girl at the 2018 Classic sale, where she was offered by Vinery Stud, Scone, NSW, who will also offer her yearling half-sister by Star Turn.

The unique Easter Round 2 catalogue of 94 lots is a combination of yearlings originally catalogued for the Easter Yearling Sale, plus a handful of additional entries. It contains some of the southern hemisphere's best-bred yearlings by established and first season sires.

Lady Banff is in top echelon

Queensland-bred 2YO filly Lady Banff ridden by James McDonald winning at Rosehill. Picture: Magic Millions

Queensland-bred 2YO filly Lady Banff ridden by James McDonald winning at Rosehill. Picture: Magic Millions

FIRST-up wins in Brisbane and Sydney point to a bright future for Queensland-bred 2YO filly Lady Banff.

It's also good news for studmaster Bob Wood who stands the filly's sire Top Echelon at Oakwood Farm, Haigslea and sold the filly for $40,000 at last year's Magic Millions March yearling sale to Murwillumbah, NSW trainer Matt Dunn. Lady Banff is among more than 100 winners sired by Top Echelon while his progeny earnings have reached almost $9 million. In fact, Matthew Dunn also trains the outstanding Top Echelon mare Gracie Belle - bred in central Queensland - whose prize money has now passed the $500,000 prize money mark following her rails-hugging win in the prestigious NSW Country Championships Final (1400m) held at Randwick in April.

Lady Banff began her race career with a win at Doomben on November 9 last year and then backed-up two weeks later with another win by four lengths at the same course. She then ran second at Eagle Farm to subsequent Group 1 JJ Atkins runner-up Gotta Kiss and subsequently led the Magic Millions 2YO Classic 16-horse field around the turn before fading to finish eleventh.

That was on January 11. Now she's reappeared some five months later for a first-up at Rosehill on Saturday, June 13 which takes her record to three wins and a second from five starts while her earnings of $248,300 includes QTIS bonuses of $84,000 which places her second on the QTIS 2YO seasonal table.

Lady Banff is the second foal of the Magic Albert mare Alberta - one of four winners produced from the winning Lion Hunter mare Miss Carolion. Alberta's first foal is 3YO filly Dutch Rocket (Dutch Harry) who has a Townsville 3YO maiden win and nine placings in north Queensland for Mackay trainer John Manzelmann.

Mature age apprentice based at Mackay

Mature aged apprentice jockey Marnu Potgieger rides Tapthetill (Blue colours, No.4 saddlecloth) to second place behind Bold Type (orange colours) at Cairns. Picture: Mike Mills

Mature aged apprentice jockey Marnu Potgieger rides Tapthetill (Blue colours, No.4 saddlecloth) to second place behind Bold Type (orange colours) at Cairns. Picture: Mike Mills

MACKAY-based mature age apprentice Marnu Potgieter is quickly building up his travel footprint with rides as far apart as Yeppoon, Emerald and Barcaldine in central Queensland and Cairns in far north Queensland.

Media reports indicate that South African-born 28-year-old Potgieter, who spent more than four years as an assistant trainer and work rider for the GV Woodruff stable in South Africa, first worked in Australia as a stablehand for Cranbourne trainer Richard Laming before being recently licensed as an apprentice jockey in Queensland with Mackay trainer John Manzelmann.

He had his first ride at Mackay on May 26, rode his first winner at Emerald eight days later on June 3 and then made national headlines another six days later on June 9 with a winning quartet at Mackay as a 4kg claiming apprentice. One of those winners was 7YO gelding Mighty Meerkat who finally won a maiden at its 69th start after 19 previous placings.

All-up, he's now had 33 rides at Mackay, Yeppoon, Emerald, Barcaldine and Cairns for six wins and 11 placings and is now down to a 3kg claim. That's the upside. The downside is that Potgieter is currently facing integrity issues having been charged in his previous stablehand job by Victorian stewards, along with trainer Richard Laming, with stomach-tubing Group 3 winner Jamaican Rain in November last year.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission's stance is that although Potgieter has been charged, he has not been found guilty and is therefore eligible to ride.

Johnson mission accomplished at Barcaldine

LEADING Queensland Country Premiership trainer Bevan (Billy) Johnson pulled off the perfect visit to the Barcaldine races on Saturday, June 13 when his only two runners on the day took the quinella in the 1310m Open Handicap.

Radio TAB Bush-beat presenter and course announcer Rob Luck reported through the On The Bit Queensland country racing Facebook site that with the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions Johnson was able to target the race for stable favourites Blue Jest and Money Ad which between them have won 40 races (including a Birdsville Cup for Blue Jest) and more than $450,000 in prize money.

A 9YO gelding by Olympus, Blue Jest - ridden by mature age apprentice Marnu Potgieter - now has 23 wins and 28 placings from 83 starts while runner-up Money Ad, an 8YO Ad Valorem (USA) mare ridden by Johnson's daughter Dakota Graham, has now started 90 times for 7 wins and 23 placings.

"Saturday's race brought together a quality field of 12 runners including the in-form Todd Austin runners in French Hussler (also a Birdsville Cup winner) and Media Vita and it was this quartet that fought out the finish. Although not having won in its prior 11 starts, Blue Jest had been consistently in the money at several provincial meetings and with the 3kg claim for mature age apprentice Marnu Potgieter came into the race carrying 57kg," Luck said.

Making his first visit to Barcaldine soon after riding four winners at Mackay, Potgieter rode in seven of the eight races for a win, two seconds and two thirds.

The story Thoroughbred race dates for 2020/21 first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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