Thompson’s fifth Cairns Cup

Thompson claims fifth Cairns Cup


Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.


“THIS is our next Cairns Cup horse” is what veteran Australian Racing Hall of Fame jockey Robert Thompson told connections after winning a race at the Cairns Amateurs almost 12 months ago.

The prediction paid off and gave Thompson his fifth Cairns Cup win when he rode the Janel Ryan-trained We Just Love It to victory at Cannon Park on Saturday, August 11.

It also gave Ryan her third cup. The first was Pretty Fox in 2001 followed by Seafight – also ridden by Thompson – in 2015.

“This is my third Cairns Cup win and it’s been a whole year in the making. It’s a relief to bring it to reality,” Ryan said. Planning began around 12 months ago when Thompson recommended We Just Love it be set for the Cairns Cup after riding him to win a 1600m Benchmark 70 race at the 2017 Cairns Amateurs. Horse and rider then reunited at Cairns on July 17 this year to place second in another BM70 race run over the Cairns Cup distance of 2100m.

Racing Queensland webnews reports Janel Ryan has made a big name for herself in the north but it hasn't come without a lot of hard work over many years. Born in the United States, Ryan arrived in Queensland 32 years ago and spent more than 11 years living in Cairns before moving to Tolga on the Atherton Tablelands.

Cessnock-based Thomson is a regular visitor each year for the north Queensland carnival and won his first Cairns Cup in 2009 on Stage Shaker. He later was successful aboard Magnum Forty Four (2011), Seafight (2015) and Chivadahllii last year. It was the second feature win in successive weeks for the successful Ryan/Thompson duo having won the IGA Cup (1900m) at Cairns on August 4 with former Brisbane sprinter, Binary.

A 5YO gelding by Love Conquers All from the Hennessy (USA) mare Husniyah, We Just Love came from worse than midfield halfway through the 2100m far north Queensland feature to nail Multifacets on the line. The margin was only a short half-head with Townsville Cup winner Lady Skills, a further 1.25 lengths away, third. A $17,000 purchase at the 2015 Magic Millions March yearling sale, We Just Love It now has six wins and five placings from 25 starts to return $149,450 prizemoney.

Two disqualifications

WE Just Love It should have two more wins to his credit at Townsville and Cairns in July and August last year. However, he was subsequently disqualified when urine samples were found, upon analysis, to contain a prohibited substance, namely Capsaicin.  

Derived from hot chilli peppers, capsaicin is mainly included in analgesic and anti-inflammatory heat rub creams used in lameness, laminitis and arthritis.

In fact, four horses were banned from the show jumping final in the 2008 Olympic Games after testing positive to capsaicin. If applied topically to a horse’s legs it can make them more sensitive to hitting a fence and cause them to want to jump higher or use themselves better.

In horse racing circles, capsaicin has the ability to offer pain relief, sedate and even stimulate, thus making it a banned product within certain parameters. Much the same as a blocking agent or local anaesthetic, the original problem and source of discomfort or pain can be masked and in a sense force the horse to run beyond its true capacity according to many experts.

In assessing her penalty, Queensland Racing Integrity Commission stewards took into account Ms Ryan’s good record having never been in breach of this rule previously, her forthright evidence and also her personal circumstances. Ms Ryan was fined $2500 on each charge and the horse was disqualified from winning both races. 

Record crowd at Gladstone Cup meeting

BIG DAY: Runners behind the barrier for Gladstone Cup start. Picture: Tony McMahon.

BIG DAY: Runners behind the barrier for Gladstone Cup start. Picture: Tony McMahon.

CENTRAL Queensland’s Tony McMahon – celebrating his 49th year as a race caller – reports that the Gladstone Cup race meeting held on Saturday, August 11, was a record occasion.

“You could not move. The atmosphere was electric and it was just a pleasure for an old dinosaur of a race caller like me to be part of,” Tony said.

While officially the crowd was estimated conservatively at 2200, Gladstone Turf Club president David Weinert’s conversation with bookmaker Paul Dowling put the on-course throng into perspective. “Paul told me he has fielded as a bookmaker at the last 30 consecutive Gladstone Cups and this was the biggest crowd he has ever witnessed here,” Weinert said.

McMahon said while the Gladstone Turf Club was only gifted with a handful of race meetings yearly the club was one of the most professionally run in the country.

“It ticks the boxes in every aspect of conducting and presenting the highest standard of race meetings for not only its patrons but all members of the various categories of racing industry stakeholders. Such is the club’s popularity with trainers that Gladstone race meetings attract horses from throughout country Queensland best exemplified by the placings in the $12,000  Gladstone Cup (1608m),” he said.

The Cup resulted in a runaway 5.75 lengths win for Bundaberg trainer Gary Clem’s Claim The Throne over Mackay trainer John Manzelmann’s Far North. A distant third was held  Murphy’s Hustler from the Miles stable of Bevan Johnston.

Originally trained by Bart and James Cummings at Randwick before transferring to Mack Griffith at Mudgee, the Street Cry gelding Claim The Throne clicked very quickly when Clem took him over in late winter 2016. He won three consecutive races at Bundaberg and Rockhampton in September that year before his form waned somewhat with the Gladstone  Cup win being his crowning glory.

The Gladstone Cup win was the first major Trophy race  win for Brisbane-based junior Madeline Wishart while bringing-up a double on Saturday bringing her tally to 21 winners.

Paul Knight adds his experience to TBQA

THOROUGHBRED Breeders Queensland Association president Basil Nolan is thrilled to add the experience and knowledge of Paul Knight to the TBQA committee.

Mr Knight’s appointment was announced at the TBQA AGM, at Doomben racecourse, Brisbane, on Saturday, August 4. He replaces Ray Plant, who stood for one term on the committee, and resigned at this election due to ill health.

Nolan and committee member Scott McAlpine were re-elected unopposed.

Paul Knight has a career within the Thoroughbred industry that extends more than 30 years, with most of it at Magic Millions in varying positions including bloodstock manager and operations manager. In 2016 Paul joined Aquis Farm as business development manager, and has been an integral part of their rapid growth and development – from standing four stallions in their first season of 2016 to eight stallions in 2018.

Paul has also been active in implementing Aquis Farm’s Breeder Bonus Schemes aimed directly towards all breeders, as well as buying stock by their stallions in the sales arenas.

“Paul brings a wealth of experience to the table from a different side of the industry. I have no doubt he will be a valuable contributor to the committee and for our members,” Mr Nolan said.

Paul said his time with Magic Millions has provided him with significant experience contributing to a solid foundation within the industry and a deeper connection to the people within it. “It is a different world being in the breeding industry to working in the Sales arena, and it has given me a superior understanding of what Breeders go through to get their product to the market,” he said.

Thanking Ray Plant for his time on the committee, Mr Nolan said although Ray was only able to provide limited input due to his health, his contribution was always worthwhile and significant. “The committee extends their best wishes to Ray, we hope he has a speedy recovery and a bright future,” Mr Nolan said.


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