Country campaign continues

Country cups crusade for Balboa Rocks


Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.


CALOUNDRA trainer Darryl Hansen will continue on his country cups crusade with Balboa Rocks after the 4YO gelding survived a protest to claim the Mackay Cup on Saturday, July 14.

Racing Queensland webnews reports Hansen landed his second Mackay Cup when Balboa Rocks, ridden by Bobby El-Issa, proved too strong with a short neck win over Tucano in the 1800m feature. Glenda Bell’s Fastnet Flyer was third, a further three-quarters of a length away.

Hansen won the Mackay Cup with Stage Shaker in 2008 and was always confident Balboa Rocks could give him another country cups feature after his third to Mamselle Corday in the Rockhampton Cup (1600m) seven days earlier. The win took Balboa Rock’s record to eight wins and nine placings from 26 starts with prize money of more than $302,000.

Hansen now plans to head north with Balboa Rocks for the $100,000 Townsville Cup (2000m) on July 28. “I won the Townsville Cup with Hussonator in 2011 so hopefully I can make it two there as well,” he said.

By Group 1 winning sprinter Easy Rocking, Balboa Rocks is from the winning Clang mare Alpha Girl. His 2YO full sister Pennino – also bred, raced and trained by the same connections – is also building an impressive racing career with three wins and two placings from just eight starts including a metropolitan 2YO win at Doomben on April 21

Meanwhile former jockey Trinity Bannon landed her biggest wins of her training career when Grand Emperor won the Newmarket Handicap (1300m). Rising 9YO Grand Emperor, ridden by Justin Stanley, powered home to down Avonaco by a short half head with Rivariva third, only a half neck away in a blanket finish. Bannon has earmarked a race at Mackay in two weeks for Grand Emperor but hasn’t ruled out the $100,000 Cleveland Bay Handicap (1200m) in Townsville the same day.

Grand Emperor is from the second crop of Written Tycoon while his dam is the lightly raced Groom Dancer (USA) mare Meridian Belle who in turn is from Wonder Belle – a sister to dual Group 1 winner Wonder Dancer. Grand Emperor began his racing career in Victoria. In fact, his final trainer down south was Darren Weir who prepared him for wins at Caulfield and Sandown.  Since moving north to Mackay, Grand Emperor has won a further five races to boost his racing career to 10 wins and 13 placings from 54 starts.

Proven sires move north

Instinction with Clinton Thompson who, with his wife Juanita and daughter La-Reina Otterman, has established a new complex 24km from Rockhampton.

Instinction with Clinton Thompson who, with his wife Juanita and daughter La-Reina Otterman, has established a new complex 24km from Rockhampton.

PROVEN stallions Instinction and Real Saga have relocated from southern Queensland to become foundation sires at Palm Valley Thoroughbreds, Tungamull near Rockhampton.

Stud-master Clinton Thompson – who, with his wife Juanita and daughter La-Reina Otterman, has established a new complex 24km from Rockhampton off the Emu Park Road – said interest in booking mares to the pair had been “phenomenal”.

Thompson gave credit for the acquisition of both stallions to Juanita and La-Reina. “We own a winning filly by Instinction named A Littlebittamagic and Sun Stud near Beaudesert contacted us about her. We then learnt they were moving their operation back to Victoria and after quite some time they agreed to an arrangement for him (Instinction) to move to our new property. While all that was in the wings, Real Saga became available so Juanita bought him to ensure we would have a stallion here. Actually, it’s worked out for the best as both sires offer pedigree variety to breeders up here. What’s more, they don’t have to send their mares south,” he said.

Emphasising the point, Thompson said a Callide Valley breeder booked two mares to Real Saga to acquire relatives to a very promising 2YO he has in training in Brisbane. “This breeder was very happy that he did not have to go to the expense of sending the mares to South East Queensland for the matings to take place,” he said.

From his original base at Glenlogan Park, Innisplain – where he stood at a one-time service fee of $18,150 – Real Saga (Tale Of The Cat/Windy Kate) went on to become a three times Queensland champion sire of 2YOs. “Real Saga will stand at Palm Valley for $4400 which is great value considering he has now sired in the vicinity of 190 individual winners of more than $12 million is stakes,” Thompson said.

Thompson also admits that early interest in the magnificent grey stallion and star former Victorian racehorse Instinction has “blown me away!” 

Real Saga with La-Reina Otterman.

Real Saga with La-Reina Otterman.

“The deeds of Tony McMahon’s filly Paradis Imperial has everyone talking Instinction. She has done wonders for him – especially having won more than $360,000 from nine wins as a 2YO and early 3YO. Paradis Imperial is so tough and that’s what’s needed in a race horse in Central Queensland,” he said.

“Instinction (Exceed And Excel/De Lago Mist) has a pedigree that just oozes winners. Add in racetrack successes plus the appeal of his progeny in physique and colouring and it is understandable why breeders are so interested in him – especially at his $3300 fee,” Thompson said.

Breeder has experience

WORKING and running a stud property is nothing new to Clinton Thompson – a former Clermont-based apprentice jockey in the early 1980s who diversified after weight forced him away from race riding.

“My father Neville trained horses so I was always around them. After I got too heavy I took up training and worked in the mines as well. Then around 1991 when Dad passed away I took over his horses and decided to breed out at Clermont,” he said.

The first stallions based on his Clermont property were Tsarbaby and Diamond Dapper and for a while the successful Raise A Stanza was also in residence. “I loved the breeding side of it but realised that being out at Clermont was disadvantageous. It was too hard and I couldn’t compete from out there. So I decided to digress from racing and get back into it later down the track in a better location with high quality stallions and proven winner getters,’’ he explained.

That day has now arrived thanks to the support and passion of Juanita and La-Reina through the establishment of Palm Valley Thoroughbreds, Tungamull. “Juanita and La-Reina are both very competent horsewomen and so enthusiastic about the breeding side and the development of the property. They have already set-up a Facebook page listed as Palm Valley Thoroughbreds providing all the information on the stallions and property.

“We are installing a 700m track plus a water swimming lane and walker so the property is set up to take in pre-trainers as well for clients. Also, we will provide a service for the preparations of yearlings for sale,” he said.

Magic Millions launches 2019 Yearling Sales Series

MAGIC Millions has announced entries are now open for the 2019 Yearling Sales Series around Australia.

The Gold Coast based Thoroughbred sales company is coming off a record 2018 series when more than $220 million was grossed – an increased return to breeders of almost $80 million in just three years.

"The impressive growth of Magic Millions Yearling Sales in 2018 began with incredible support from our vendors. Again our achievements this year are a direct outcome of their ongoing trust and patronage," Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch said.

"It was a record breaking sales season across Australia during 2018 and Magic Millions sales grew at a faster rate than the other auctions across Australasia. With six yearling sales across four states, the sales series is complemented by the world's richest Race Series featuring the $10 million annual Gold Coast Raceday,” he said.

Entries close on Friday, August 10 for all sales except the National Yearling Sale which closes on March 15. Entries are now open for the following auctions:

  • Gold Coast Yearling Sale – January 9-15 
  • Tasmanian Yearling Sale – February 14
  • Perth Yearling Sale – February 18-19 
  • Adelaide Yearling Sale – March 12-13 
  • Gold Coast March Yearling Sale – March 18-19 
  • Gold Coast National Yearling Sale – June 4-6 

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