Rising Luck could be Doomben dark horse
THE $2 million Stradbroke and Queensland Derby are the highlight of Brisbane's top race meeting for the season at Doomben tomorrow.
Two horses which were trained and /or raced on the Gympie Racecourse, were winners of these two great races in years past.
Innisfree, who was trained in Gympie as a young horse by Graham McCauley, won the 1978 Stradbroke while Dark Briar, who was later trained here by John Cartwright, won the 1966 Queensland Derby.
Dark Briar gave legendary Sydney trainer Tommy Smith his sixth win in the 2400m (then 1½ miles) Qld Derby - one of those being the victory by the mighty Tulloch in 1957.
Ridden by leading Sydney apprentice, Sid Spinks in the 1966 Blue Riband event, Dark Briar defeated Prince Aimar and Lord Kearsey to give Spinks three wins and two seconds from six rides on Dark Briar.
Previously in Sydney, Dark Briar (by Pipe of Peace from Indian Sari) had won the Rosehill Guineas, defeating Garcon and a field of the best Sydney three-year-olds.
Things went downhill for Dark Briar after his Derby win, leading to the horse eventually being banned from racing in Brisbane. He developed the habit of ducking sideways after jumping at the start of races leading to the ban.
He was then sold and trained for a time by former Mt Isa trainer Louis Burgovitch. Gympie jockey Barry Thomas, then based in Brisbane, rode Dark Briar in work in Brisbane. The horse was then sent to Mt Isa to race before ending up on a Mooloo dairy farm.
The Derby winner was sold for $500 at a dispersal sale at the Mooloo farm.
Enter Gympie school teacher, John Cartwright.
He took out a trainer's licence to prepare Dark Briar as the first horse he ever trained.
This was not without some ups and downs, however as the horse also had a habit of throwing himself down on the track when going out for track work.
After five years away from racing, his class told when Dark Briar won an 850m race in Gympie first-up and beat the well performed country mare, Jamaice Princess.
After several more Gympie wins, Dark Briar contested the Gayndah Cup but was brought undone by the hard track, going amiss with a joint problem which effectively ended his colourful racing career.
Innisfree (Rego Lad - Miss Aladdin) won the '78 Stradbroke, giving father son combination of trainer Ron Hall and son Greg an historic victory.
Innisfree had previously won the Toorak Handicap, the Doomben Newmarket and the equivalent on the now B.T.C. Cup.
There is some Gympie interest in tomorrow's Qld Derby with Trevor Thomas, a son of Barry Thomas, the trainer of Derby entrant, Rising Luck.
Rising Luck was a last start Ipswich winner over the Derby distance of 2200m in a 3yo Handicap.
The ownership of this Bradbury's Luck gelding includes some Gympie connections.
It is fitting that Gayndah stages its Cup meeting tomorrow on Qld Derby day as the first Qld Derby was run on the Gayndah racecourse.
The Hermit won the initial Qld Derby in 1868, and a statue of the Hermit in the main street of Gayndah commemorates the event.
The Hermit subsequently raced successfully at Gympie's first ever race meeting, a two day event held over the Christmas period of 1868, at a track hacked out of the bush at Widgee Crossing.
The 1869 Qld Derby at Gayndah was won by Zambesi, ridden by local rider, William Harris, who was just 10 years old.
In 1870 the Derby was run twice, at Gayndah and then in Brisbane, and won by the same horse - Grafton.
Tomorrow's $9500 Gayndah Cup over 1400m drew eight nominations, including the Barry Gill trained pair, Unique Fuse and Balinese Boy, as well as Craiglea Falcon from the Krystle Johnston stable.
The 1000m QTIS Maiden had 20 horses nominated.
BUNDABERG trainer Matt Reardon had an unusual winning double last week.
His horse, Scratchy, won at Nanango after he had a win in the stewards' room in Brisbane.
Following a complaint to stewards over the placings in a race at Burrandowan, stewards awarded the race to the Reardon trained Tropical Heatwave, which had been placed second to Come on Lu Lu after a close photo on the day.
Jason Missen, rider of Tropical Heatwave, had originally complained to stewards at Burrandowan over the judges' decision but, after examining the photo finish, stewards elected not to alter the judges' placings.
At the Brisbane inquiry, stewards held that there was sufficient evidence in the photo to change the placings.