KING KELLY Schweida came back to his home town turf last Saturday and conquered.
Comprehensibly, in fact.
A beaming Schweida claimed Outraged’s brilliant win in the Townsville cup – on a track that Schweida cut his teeth – was like winning a Group 1. Well almost.
It capped a freakish season for the former Wulguru mentor who tasted group success with locally owned Our Cover Girl in the Tiara at Eagle Farm in late June and on the very same day saddled up Rocky Cup Ruling Force.
Kelly has never forgotten his roots, nor the painstaking struggle to reach the top of his profession that began humbly in the Townsville racing suburb of Wulguru.
He packed up in November 1994 to try his luck in the city. And like many north Queenslanders before him, became established as a leading trainer who can rightly boast an impressive record of achievement.
Before him were the likes of Melbourne Cup winning trainer Dick Roden who ventured south from Mackay, birth place too of the legendary George Moore. Henry Davis, and in more recent times Stephen O’Dea followed the same trail.
While Kelly has achieved group and several listed race wins, he rates the ill fated Inside Edge as the best he has trained. The horse was owned by the late Ernest Lord, former chairman of the Townsville Turf club. Ironically his wife Neida (affectionately known by some close associates as Mother Superior) passed away in a Blackall nursing home last week.
Kelly claims Inside Edge would have won the 1996 Stradbroke - had he got a start.
“He was the best,” he recalled to a packed house pre-Cup calcutta at the Townsville Casino on Friday.
IT was a sell out event that featured interviews with John O’Shea who told a few secrets and, Larry Cassidy told of a phone call he received one night from NZ trainer Trevor McKee offering him the ride on a horse named Sunline. The trainer rang Larry by mistake – he was looking to engage brother Jim to ride the then unknown mare that was to become a superstar.
But to Larry’s fortune the trainer said: “OK you’ll do - you can ride her”. And he did – and she bolted in at her first Australian start.
He eventually lost the ride to Greg Childs because of commitments at the time to the all powerful Ingham stable.
Said Larry: “Well, it was pointed out to me that Sunline was just one horse - and Inghams (for whom he was stable jockey) had a 1000.
“So I opted to ride Arena one day and Childs got the Sunline ride.” And as they say, the rest is history.
O’Shea gave some insight to the pressure of training horses and meeting multi million dollar budgets for the giant Godolphin operation.
Asked by interviewer Mark Forbes “If it was tough” in the training ranks of Sydney, the Mareeba born O’Shea answered with a succinct:
“It is dog eat dog”.
He also admitted too that both his father Bernie (a fierce supporter) and his wife recommended he should not take the Godolphin appointment.
But the trainer said he wanted the challenge and assured the large gathering that he was pleased he made the “right decision”.
Cup day was also a day that jockey Ric Mc Mahon will long remember. He not only rode Outrage- but was a board Executed whose win in the Cleveland Bay was exceptional. From an outside alley, the much travelled sprinter in the Craiglea colours staged one of the most impressive performances ever seen at Cluden. He simply pulverised the best sprinters the north could muster.
The sometimes temperamental champ outsped them early and completely outstayed them to win by a widening margin. He is an absolute credit to his trainer the youthful Krystle Johnstone who has taken the horse’s winnings to over half as million dollars and retained Executed’s unbeaten record on the Cluden track.
LAST week we wrote about Joe Caruso’s battle to collect his winning bet from a big betting corporate. There has been a happy ending to the saga with said betting corporate offering to pay up.
Joe (74) was laid up in A Brisbane recovering from hip surgery and called on his son Robert to place his bets which included two wins totalling $10,500. The bookie originally refused to pay and cancelled Joe’s account because a third party (Robert) had placed the bets which is contrary to the Terms and Conditions of the online betting agency.
However, we are pleased to report fairness and pure commonsense has prevailed.