A new 'can do attitude' horse

New 'can do attitude' horse wins Mackay Newmarket


Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.


A CHANGE in attitude can work wonders! When Mackay Newmarket winner Mr Attitude raced in south-east Queensland as a 3YO and 4YO gelding from January 2017 to September 2018 the best result he achieved was a Maiden win at Ipswich plus nine frustrating placings.

His first 14 starts were for Brisbane-based Lawrie Mayfield-Smith. This was followed by a further five starts for Toowoomba trainer Neville Petersen who had earlier prepared his dam Milady Clang to win 10 races from Brisbane to Rockhampton so he knew the horse had potential.

The equally frustrated owners included his Rockhampton-based breeder Wayne Twigg. So it was a natural progression to transfer the horse to Rockhampton trainer Ricky Vail in September last year hoping the change in surroundings might also result in a change of both attitude and fortunes. The result has been an amazing turnaround in form with eight wins and two placings at Rockhampton and Mackay from just 12 starts since early December culminating with victory in the 1300m Mackay Newmarket last Saturday.

Mr Attitude is from the penultimate crop of foals sired by shuttle stallion Duke of Marmalade (Ire). A son of Danehill, Duke of Marmalade was a magnificent racehorse winning six Group 1 races in England, Ireland and France and has become a prolific sire with his 419 winners including 41 black type winners.

One of more than 400 winners sired by Clang, now deceased Milady Clang was bought privately by Wayne Twigg prior to her racing career and she is now a winner producer with her three foals to race - The Thomas Affair, Mr Attitude and Hayburner - all winners. On the flip side, she missed going in foal six times while her final foal was born dead in October 2016.

Back-to-back Cup wins for Bergerac

A DECISION by Toowoomba trainer Steve Tregae to bypass the recent Rockhampton Cup run on a heavy track paid dividends when his superb galloper Bergerac won the 2000m Mackay Cup held last Saturday.

By Drumbeats from the Iglesia mare Miss Argyle, the 5YO gelding made it back-to-back Cup wins having won the 2150m Listed Ipswich Cup his previous start four weeks earlier. His race record now stands at 10 wins and seven placings from just 30 starts for total prizemoney earnings of more than $650,000.

While Bergerac provided the triumph, his 5YO stablemate Niccanova (G Nicconi/Dananova) has provided the tribulation having run second at his past two starts - the Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) run and won by River Racer at the Sunshine Coast two weeks ago followed by the 1300m Mackay Newmarket behind Mt Attitude.

Nevertheless, the $45,000 earnt at his past two starts lifts his prizemoney above $480,000 provided by seven wins and six placings from 19 starts.

 Rockhampton trainer Tony McMahon with the QTIS All Ages champion trophy won by his filly Paradis Imperial. Picture supplied by Racing Queensland

Rockhampton trainer Tony McMahon with the QTIS All Ages champion trophy won by his filly Paradis Imperial. Picture supplied by Racing Queensland

QTIS all ages champion retired

PARADIS Imperial (stable named Esmee) - the multiple record breaking filly that took Rockhampton racing by storm - has been retired.

The grey filly with starlet looks to match her racetrack prowess retires as the greatest stake winning horse trained throughout her career at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park racecourse. Paradis Imperial (Instinction/Hennessy Beau) had 31 starts for 10 wins and 11 placings for $379,975 in stakes. Not bad considering she only cost racecaller/journalist/trainer Tony McMahon $9000 as a yearling bought at Magic Millions March sale in 2016. Paradis Imperial was ridden in eight of her wins by Nathan Day while Adrian Coome won on her twice.

At the Queensland Racehorse of the Year Awards in Brisbane in late 2017, Paradis Imperial was crowned QTIS all ages champion for the 2016/17 season. Not only was she the top 2YO QTIS bonus earner with an extra $125,400 in stakes, Paradis Imperial won more bonus prize money that the leading 3YO. This propelled her prize money as a 2YO to more than $300,000 - the most won by her age in the 150 years history of Rockhampton racing. It was also a record figure for a juvenile filly trained north of South East Queensland.

Paradis Imperial won her first five starts in succession culminating in setting a record for a Rockhampton 2YO filly by winning under 58kg at Eagle Farm, Brisbane on January 21, 2017. Three weeks later she ran third at Eagle Farm under a whopping 59.5kg. Two starts later on March 13, 2017, Paradis Imperial set a Rockhampton weight carrying record for a juvenile filly winning over 1100m under 63kg by 2.75l at Callaghan Park in an astonishing 1min:3.8 seconds.

By winning the $100,000 Parry Nissan 2YO Classic (1200m) at Townsville on July 15, 2017, Paradis Imperial set a record time for the race on the new look Cluden track. More importantly, that win - her seventh as a 2YO - provided her with the Australian juvenile record title for the most wins in the 2016/17 season.

Recently retired mare Paradis Imperial enjoys a pick of grass. Picture supplied by Tony McMahon

Recently retired mare Paradis Imperial enjoys a pick of grass. Picture supplied by Tony McMahon

Imperial kept setting records

PROVING she was not just a precocious and freakish 2YO, Paradis Imperial won at three and four years old.

The records kept tumbling because when Paradis Imperial won with 62kg against the males in a 3YO Handicap ( 1200m) at Callaghan Park on September 21, 2017, she became the highest weighted early season filly to do so. The grey flyer won twice as a 3YO as well as cementing her status by finishing third in the glamour AQUIS Jewel 3YO Plate (1200m) in March at the Gold Coast.

Hindered by imposing weights against all comers, Paradis Imperial trained on as a 4YO to win in Rockhampton as well as being placed on multiple occasions. The curtain on her career came down when she was asked to lump 63.5kg against all ages at Callaghan Park on May 5 this year when it was obvious in the race that the handicapper had finally caught up with her.

"She was weighted down and although unplaced she tried her heart out. I decided then I couldn't bear to go on with her as I would never forgive myself if something went amiss with her in a race. She pulled up sound but it just became too hard to place and find suitable races," McMahon said.

"Furthermore, I don't train my horses hard on the training tack and the timing of the Rocky Carnival was too soon for her. I did not want Paradis Imperial to retire as a 'has been' as so many wonderful horses have over the years. All the owners agreed to pull the pin as 'Esmee' took us all to some unprecedented heights and provided a ride of a lifetime," he said.

Paradis Imperial has let down into a magnificent mare being readied for the next chapter of her life as a broodmare. "The owners, including my wife Jean and Central Queensland racecaller Scott Power, are not horse breeders so a decision on her future will be determined soon before the start of the breeding season," McMahon said.

Jean McMahon names all Tony's horses and with the filly's maternal grandsire named Hennessy it was a natural fit that Jean chose Paradis Imperial - a unique blend of cognac created 200 years ago by the Hennessy family in France for the Dowager Empress of Russia to give to her son Tsar Alexander I.

Currie inquiry adjourned until criminal charge is resolved

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has agreed to a request from legal representatives for disqualified Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie to adjourn its inquiry into seven alleged breaches of the rules of racing until after the resolution of a criminal charge he is now facing.

Stewards were scheduled to commence their inquiry last Thursday, July 11 into the seven alleged breaches.

The Queensland Racing Crime Squad charged the disqualified trainer on June 25, 2019 with alleged systematic fraudulent behaviour over a period from November 2016 to March 2019 where he allegedly sourced and administered unregulated horse supplements designed to enhance race performance in a manner to circumvent current testing methodology in Queensland thoroughbred racing. Mr Currie was bailed to appear in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on July 15, 2019.

An internal review decision into the May 20, 2019 steward's guilty verdict and penalty of two years' disqualification for 12 breaches of the rules of racing, issued on May 28, 2018 has confirmed the original decision and amended Mr Currie's penalty to 18 months disqualification.

A further review on Tuesday, July 16 of five prohibited substance charges has confirmed the Stewards' original guilty decision, reduced the penalty from three years' disqualification to two years and three months and reduced his $45,000 fine to $10,000.

Tuesday's review decision has reduced Mr Currie's current cumulative disqualification period to six years and three months and a fine of $10,000:

  • Two years and three months after being found guilty of five prohibited substance charges.
  • Two-and-a-half years after he was found guilty of two charges of improper action following an investigation into text messages relating to the intention to use an electronic apparatus capable of affecting the performance of two horses.
  • 18 months for 12 breaches of the rules of racing.

A date is yet to be set for a further stewards inquiry into 14 alleged breaches of the rules of racing issued on May 28, 2018.

New Thoroughbred arrival times for Qld feature races

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) advises that all Thoroughbred runners must arrive on course at least three hours before a scheduled feature race that attracts $100,000 plus in prizemoney across Queensland.

The new arrival time came into effect on Saturday, July 6, 2019 for the Rockhampton Cup.

Track officials will monitor the arrival of Thoroughbred runners on race day and is similar to policies adopted in other jurisdictions.

The Australian Trainer's Association (ATA) - Queensland Branch and Queensland Trainers (QTA) have been advised of the change.

QRIC Chief Stipendiary Steward Peter Chadwick said this move would enhance integrity measures for Queensland's feature races. The Commission is also reviewing the integrity settings for Harness racing and will make an announcement about the outcome of the review in the coming days.


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