THE Queensland racing industry will donate more than $50,000 to drought-relief after staging the '1 for the Bush' fundraising campaign over the weekend.
In total, $52,600 will be donated to the QCWA's Public Rural Crisis Fund after Racing Queensland announced it would donate $1000 every time a runner carrying the number one saddlecloth won a race across three racing codes on Saturday and Sunday. The nation's biggest betting operators - Tabcorp, Ladbrokes, Sportsbet and BetEasy - agreed to match RQ's contribution dollar for dollar, ensuring a $5000 windfall every time the number one saluted across the state.
Across the three codes, the number one triumphed on 10 occasions at the weekend including eight Thoroughbreds, a greyhound and a harness winner. Winners were found at the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Barcaldine, Innisfail, Goondiwindi, Nanango and Albion Park.
"The 1 for the Bush fundraising campaign has been nothing short of a great success," Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said.
"The funds raised will make a tangible difference to the many communities being impacted by the drought. Racing plays an important role across Queensland's communities and I applaud the industry for its willingness to raise funds for such an important initiative."
In addition, the top-three place-getters from the TAB Country Cups Challenge Final at Doomben on Saturday - Deadly Choices ($5000), San Vincenzo ($3000) and French Hussler ($2000) - were awarded $10,000 by RQ to donate to a rural charity of their choice.
A number of racing clubs also supported the campaign, with the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club donating $1000 from its Albion Park meeting after Cosmo Bill triumphed in the eighth, while the Kilcoy Race Club and Kilcoy Diggers provided $800 apiece through their on-course fundraising efforts.
RQ chairman Steve Wilson said the industry's response to '1 for the Bush' was particularly heartening. "Thanks to their collective support, $52,600 will now be donated to the QCWA, who will ensure that a great deal of good will be delivered to some of our most vulnerable Queenslanders. Our thoughts remain with those facing adversity and we express our hope that rainfalls will soon bring an end to the terrible conditions many are enduring," he said.
Mt Isa horse wins Country Cups Challenge final
"WINNING the Country Cups Challenge final is as close as I'll get to riding a Group 1 winner" is how multiple country champion jockey Dan Ballard described winning the final on Mt Isa-based galloper Deadly Choices at Doomben on Group 3 George Moore Stakes Day on Saturday.
Guest caller for the final was Townsville-based Tony Wode who called Deadly Choices winning his first race at Townsville at his Queensland debut in July 2018. Runner-up in the final was Yeppoon Cup winner San Vincenzo (G6 So You Think (NZ)/Stage Beauty) trained by Rockhampton-based Ricky Vale while third place went to Longreach Cup winner French Hussler (G9 Hussonet (USA)/Paris Plaits) prepared by Todd Austin at Barcaldine.
Deadly Choices' win was a triumph for the north-west Queensland racing community as jockey and trainer Damien Finter are both based at Mt Isa while his owners are Camooweal grazier Lindsay Miller, Undilla Station and his neighbours Lloyd and Wendy Hick, Thorntonia. Until a few months ago Wendy was the national Isolated Children Parents' Association president, while Lloyd has been an active member of AgForce and is the current president of the Camooweal Jockey Club.
For 6YO gelding Deadly Choices, the final was his sixth win in succession since he finished runner-up behind Hanover Square in the Battle of the Bush final at Eagle Farm on June 22. On that occasion he was ridden by Blake Shinn because Ballard couldn't make the 56kg weight but since then Ballard has had six rides for six wins including the qualifying race - the 1450m Mt Isa Spring Cup on October 4. In fact, Dan has ridden Deadly Choices 11 times for 10 wins and a second while his father, Keith Ballard, has had four rides for a win and three placings.
Deadly Choices is 'home-bred hero'
"WE bred him" is how north-west country racing enthusiast Wendy Hick explained how they acquired Country Cups Challenge final winner Deadly Choices.
'We' means Wendy, husband Lloyd and neighbour Lindsay Miller who have been racing horses together for around 25 years. In fact, Lindsay's family has been racing horses since his grandfather, Blake Miller, acquired Undilla Station at Camooweal in 1916, while his father, Raymond Miller, mixed racing and riding as an active amateur jockey in north-west Queensland.
Having joined forces to support country racing, the trio began breeding their own racing stock, buying several brood mares and stallion shares including Desert King (Ire) and Golden Snake (USA) - both based at Bombora Downs in Victoria. One of the mares was the Victorian-bred Magic Idol - a four times winning daughter of outstanding racehorse and sire Rubiton - bought online in foal to Gonski.
The resultant foal was He's A Magician. She was then mated to Desert King to produce The King's Magic and remained at the stud to be served by four times Group 1 winning Golden Snake, with Deadly Choices the result. Having been foaled in Victoria he remained there for his first 12 starts where he had a win at Sandown Lakeside plus three placings.
Making the move north and placed with Mt Isa trainer Damien Finter, Deadly Choices made an immediate impact by winning a Class 1 Handicap at Townsville followed by a Class 3 Plate at Birdsville in August, 2018. All-up, his 16 starts in Queensland have resulted in 16 cheques with 11 wins and five placings - the wins occurring from Brisbane to Birdsville in southern Queensland and Townsville to Mt Isa in north Queensland.
Sugar hit for Spirit Of Boom
FRONT running 3YO filly Sugar Boom became the eighth stakes winner for her sire Spirit Of Boom when she won the Listed Mode Plate (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday, November 30.
She was one of three winners for Eureka Stud's Group 1 winning sire along with 3YO gelding Le Palmier who won the 1200m Winning Rupert at set weights for 3YO colts and geldings and 4YO mare Boomtown Lass who won an 1110m Benchmark 70 Handicap. There was almost a quadrella when first crop progeny Outback Barbie and Boomsara ran a photo-finish second and third to Chapter And Verse in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m).
Sugar Boom is home-bred and raced by the Gold Coast-based John and Vicki Kurtz, son Steven and daughter Angela. Having enjoyed Group 1 glory as syndicate members that raced both Spirit Of Boom and his half-brother Temple Of Boom, the Kurtz family had no hesitation in buying a breeding share when Spirit Of Boom was retired to stud. They subsequently acquired the winning Pins mare Acupuncture - already the dam of six winners -for $50,000 at the 2014 Patinack Farm dispersal for breeding purposes.
However, her first mating in his debut season resulted a colt foal that died after birth. Her second foal was Sugar Boom and the mare then died in December 2017. Sugar Boom was sold through Eureka Stud for $100,000 at the 2018 Inglis Easter yearling sale but subsequently failed her x-rays. Returning to Eureka Stud where she was broken in and spelled, Sugar Boom has now won three races in succession for Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan for an overall race record of four wins and two seconds from seven starts returning $237,250 including $76,200 in QTIS bonuses.
Spectacular 2020 MM Gold Coast Yearling catalogue online
UNPRECEDENTED support from breeders across Australasia has led to Magic Millions assembling a star-studded catalogue for the 2020 Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
A mouth-watering line up of 1065 lots has been confirmed by vendors for the first five days of the auction including a record equalling 888 lots to be offered across Book 1 of the sale from Wednesday January 8. Books 1 and 2 of the 2020 Gold Coast Yearling Sale feature the progeny of 97 individual stallions including a record 29 first season sires.
"Again for 2020, breeders have supported the sale with unparalleled enthusiasm and support. The depth and quality of this catalogue will present buyers with a line-up of Australasia's best yearlings like no other sale," Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch said.
"This sale is number one for producing the life-changing champions. At this sale we have sold the likes of Winx ($26.4 million earned), Redzel ($16 million), Yes Yes Yes ($7.1 million), Sunlight ($6.5 million) and Pierata ($5.6 million). The returns for investors in the Australian racing industry have never been stronger and this sale is where buyers are securing the horses who are sweeping the biggest prizes," he said.
To view the catalogue for the 2020 Gold Coast Yearling Sale online visit magicmillions.com.au or download it on iPad via the Equineline Sales Catalog App. Printed copies of the catalogue are now also being distributed.
2020 Gold Coast Yearling Sale schedule:
Wednesday, January 8: Book 1 (Day 1: Lots 1-262).
Thursday, January 9: Book 1 (Day 2: Lots 263-524).
Friday, January 10: Book 1 (Day 3: Lots 525-786).
Saturday, January 11: Magic Millions Raceday; Book 1 (Day 4: Lots 787-888).
Sunday, January 12: Book 2 (Day 5: Lots 889-1065) (Inspections from 8am Friday, January 11).
Tuesday, January 14: Book 3 (Day 6) - catalogue available December.
Cup winner's half-sister to boost MM yearling sale
VOW And Declare has provided a massive boost to January's 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale with a thrilling win in the recent Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
The Queensland-bred and co-owned Vow And Declare is now the winner of more than $5.4 million and he gave his Gold Coast sale-bound half-sister by Star Witness, prepared by Widden Stud, a perfectly timed pedigree update.
Noosa-based breeder Paul Lanskey, along with wife Helga, raced Vow And Declare's mother Geblitzt after paying $20,000 her at the 2008 Gold Coast Yearling Sale. A winner of five, Geblitzt won three races in Brisbane when prepared by Steven O'Dea before winning in Sydney with Joe Pride.
As well as being the dam of Vow And Declare, Geblitzt has also produced the Melbourne stakes winner and $440,000 earner Lycurgus - a full brother to the sales-bound filly.