When it comes to horse racing, results count, like last Friday’s Callaghan Park races when the graduates of last year’s Rockhampton Capricornia Yearling Sales spanned an entire field of racing.
This happened in the $ 30.5K QTIS 2YO Maiden (1050m) won by Tom Buttons Ashcroft (Nathan Thomas, $ 14.00) from Clinton Taylor on Montana Night (Justin Stanley, $ 1.85).
In an exhilarating finish that saw just a nose parting the pair, Kevin Miller’s Bean Deadly (Beau-Dene Appo, $ 3.80) was half a head away third.
Ashcroft (b f 2 Sidereus-Bittersweet X Ferocity) is driven by a sizable syndicate that includes locals Dennis Cox, Shaun O’Neill, and Barry and Carol Ryan.
She fetched $ 18,000 in the 2020 online CYS and was part of a design unveiled by acclaimed breeders Neville Stewart and sons Alistair and Hamish of Oaklands Stud in Toowoomba.
The win ensured Ashcroft would make the field for the $ 125,000 QTIS CYS 2YO Classic at Callaghan Park on Saturday April 10th.
Oaklands has had tremendous success over the years in producing the winner of that race and the 3YO equivalent, with the names Stylish Criminal, Wicked Ways and Miss Lot Won immediately coming to mind.
The stud will again play a dominant role this year as Tom Smith-trained Kashkar, a double winner this season, is also likely to be a CYS Classic contender.
Oaklands has a draft for a dozen yearlings, including a group of the internationally recognized stallion Power, which will be on sale at Rockhamptons CYS on Sunday April 11th this year.
Of course, those of the syndicates who were on the track on Friday were enthusiastic about the victory and the free ticket to the big race final.
« This is only my second winner, » said Barry Ryan, but that statistic was broken a few hours later when he and his wife Carol posed in the winners’ booth with auxin, of which they have a small stake.
Ashcroft wasn’t the only winner on the card, coming from the sales ring at the Robert Schwarten Pavilion courtesy of a Capricornia Yearling Sale mail order.
The other, the ultra-consistent Carrara filly Emilee’s Empire (Cecily Eaton $ 5.00), eventually lost her bridesmaid status when she won the QTIS 3YO Maiden (1200m) for $ 23,150.
Wait, bred by Susan Peddle of Dululu, she was a steal of $ 3,000 at CYS 2019.
Before the brave win on Friday, Emily’s Empire had run nine seconds and a third 16 times, while she was never far away in her unplaced runs.
Now she has returned owner Helen Wright, wife of filly trainer Lyle, an unbelievable prize of $ 91,825.
« She was passed on sale and I went to the breeder afterwards and offered her $ 3K which she accepted. She (Emilee’s Empire) was consistent all the way and encouraged me to keep going with her every run, » said Lyle Wright.
Susan Peddle has been a core member of the CQ Thoroughbred Breeders Association for many years, and it was fitting that Emilee’s Empire was a great advertisement for her breeder.
At the upcoming CYS, Susan’s draft of the yearlings will feature five stocks from Altius (USA) as well as a filly from the good winner Whittington.
The victories of CYS alumni Ashcroft and Emilee’s Empire were timely confirmation not only of the caliber of racehorses emerging from annual local sales, but also of its importance as a supply chain for Rockhampton races.
As she looked back at Emilee’s Empire, it was also gratifying to see hard-working jockey Cecily Eaton from Brisbane trot her back to the winners’ booth.
Cecily suffered a badly broken left heel when she broke off a horse she said had a hump at a Warwick race last March and she didn’t resume riding until earlier this year.
A respected rider and with nearly 360 career wins in her name, she was delighted to have completed the Emilee’s Empire placement streak.
« I didn’t think she was going to get there (win) but was glad when she did, » said Cecily.
Aside from Emilee’s Empire, her other four rides have been underdogs, including Leeanne Applewaite-trained Tezoff ($ 61.00) who finished second to Chris Attard’s auxin.
Since its comeback, Eaton, ready to take a ride, has raced in Toowoomba, Warwick, Miles, Ipswich, Rockhampton and Darwin.
« I live near the airport in Brisbane and am pretty willing to come to Rocky regularly if I can get the rides, » she said.
Judging by their ideas on Friday, this should go without saying and Cecily will be back in action for the St. Pat’s Day gala races at Callaghan Park on Saturday.
« There are a lot of women who work behind the scenes and are not seen with the fire hoses. »
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