South-East Queensland trainers sometimes bemoan the fact when top trainers from the southern states regularly raid the Brisbane carnival … well, the boot will be on the other foot at Rockhampton this weekend, with several South-East Queensland trainers making the trip north for a hit and run raid on the feature races at Rockhampton.
Multi-premiership winning trainer Tony Gollan will lead that charge on day one of the Rockhampton Carnival on Friday where the top Brisbane stable will saddle three out of the thirteen runners involved in the featured $100,000 Rockhampton Newmarket.
Vinco will be ridden by Georgina Cartwright, fresh from her double at the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday. Pull Anchor will be ridden by the seemingly always in-form Samantha Collett, while the race favourite Palladas will be ridden by Willie Pike.
Four other South-East Queensland based trainers … Tom Button (now based at Canungra on the Gold Coast), Jake Capewell, Desleigh Forster and Darryl Hansen take the South-East representation to more than half of the field.
Jared Wehlow and Adrian Coombe are the two local trainers who will be trying to push back against the south-east tide.
Adding lustre to the race is that fact that no less than eight Group 1 winning jockeys … Jim Byrne, Noel Callow, Samantha Collett, Mark Du Plessis, Robbie Fradd, Willie Pike, Jason Taylor and Ryan Wiggins will get the leg up in the Newmarket.
The track surface, which was rated a heavy 10 earlier this week, has improved to its current soft 7 rating and, with no further rain predicted in the coming days, it should be all systems go as Rockhampton gets its chance to shine in the Queensland racing spotlight.
*The Rockhampton Newmarket is the feature race on Friday while the $150,000 Rockhampton Cup heads the card on Saturday with the Magic Millions Capricorn Guineas as the supporting feature event.