Exciting races in Eidsvold
Triples for trainer and jockey on 129th race
HORSE RACING: With 129 years of pedigree to live up to, the Eidsvold Race Club delivered on it’s reputation this year.
Hundreds braved the blazing sun down at the Eidsvold race track to enjoy the sport, and were rewarded with some impressive wins and tight competitions.
The final race ended on a hairpin between Winner Winner, ridden by jockey Hannah English, and Al’s Briefs, ridden by Chelsea Jokic.
The horses were neck and neck for most of the race, constantly gaining and losing ground on one another along the 1350 metre track before Al’s Brief’s finally slipped ahead as they crossed the finish line.
Ms Jokic, who also rode the winning horses in race one and two, said it was always going to come down to those two horses.
“I really thought my horse had the race won at the turn, but Hannah’s horse kicked back pretty strongly and I only just managed to hang on,” she said.
“If anything, mine was a little bit in front but hers came back right on the line so it was very close; Hannah wanted to have a look at the photo to see if there was a margin.”
Ms Jokic has been racing five years, and ran a triple and a double on her last two trips to Eidsvold Races.
The very next day, she went off to compete at the Sunshine Coast. Horse trainer Darryl Gardener was tipped to be a favourite early on, and ended up delivering with an impressive triple, taking race five with Al’s Briefs, and also races two and three.
Mr Gardiner lives in Bundaberg, but was originally from Eidsvold, making the victory extra significant.
“It was great to come back and win three, but they were three good chances,” Mr Gardiner said.
“I only race in these places once a year unfortunately, but it’s great to be back home again.”
Mr Gardiner won with Craiglea Barina, also ridden by Ms Jokic and Minto’s Lass, ridden by local rider Lyall Appo.
Craiglea Barina was given to Darryl by Craiglea Stud along with another horse when they were trying to get rid of some excess stock.
The win in race 2 was her second race overall and first win, making it a promising start to a future career for the young horse.
“They lived up to their form, well ridden by their jockeys and they got their money.”
Mr Gardiner will be running horses in Gympie two weeks from now. The opening ceremony of the races began with a moment of silence in memory of long time race sponsor Shelley Darcy, and the jockeys wore black armbands for the first race as a mark of respect.
Race sponsor Karen Slater knew Shelley as a child, and both of them followed on from their parents in supporting the races.
“I’m sure Shelley would be looking down from up there saying ‘good job boys, you’ve done good so far’,” Mrs Slater said.
The first race was won by Dream of Choice, trained by Glenn Richardson, only her third race back from taking a spell.
Part-owner Ben Kruger had never owned a horse share before and was delighted that his first time would be a winner.
“That’s her ninth race, so she had to win eventually,” Mr Kruger said.
“She’s been racing for 12 months, she came fourth last Saturday in Miles, near Chinchilla.”
The third winner, Minto’s Lass was part of a legacy of horses, beginning with the great-grandmother Lady Minto, then Lady Sparrow, Lady Mundubbera and finally Minto’s Lass.
Garry Palmer, part owner of the Minto line said she’s been a handy horse.
“She started racing as a three year old, that was the 21st start, I think she’s only been outpaced around four times,” Mr Palmer said.
Eidsvold jockey Lyall Abbo ran Minto’s Lass, though Mr Palmer said it was originally supposed to be Hannah English from Nanago.
Due to a scheduling issue, she was unable to do it, so Lyall ran the horse instead instead.
Though she missed out on riding the winner for race three, Ms English would go onto win race four on Ibelieveicanfly, and take Winner Winner to an extremely close second in the fith.
According to Ms English, the dry weather and hard track presented a challenge to the riders.
“The track is very firm today and quite dusty, they haven’t had a lot of rain,” she said.
“There’s lots of different things to pay attention to, you’ve got to work out how your horses are travelling in a race and handling track conditions.”
“You’ve also got the dust to deal with as well and a lot of times when you have the dust going in your face it’s quite painful, it really stings your face, and that’s the same for the horses.”
Hannah said some horses take to the firmer track better than others.
“When they don’t like it they often won’t try,” she said.
Hannah previously won with Ibelieveicanfly at Miles last week.
It was a different track, a sand track, which might explain the horse was able to tackle the relatively milder Eidsvold track.
“Sometimes it’s a bit of a risk when they work so hard in the heat,” Ms English said.
“She carried a lot more weight today, 62 kilos which is a fair weight for a race horse, but she hit the line well.”
Despite the difficulty, Hannah said she enjoyed getting to race on the Eidsvold track.
“We race around these tracks quite often, Gandah, Eidsvold, Mt Perry, they’re similar tracks so you get used to it,” she said.
Chelsea Jokic agreed that there was an enjoyment to be had in running regional tracks.
“City tracks are obviously a lot bigger, but I think it’s better racing out here, I like
to come out to the bush meetings,” she said.
Wrap of the races
After the excitement of the final result ended (and those who bet on Winner Winner had finished tearing up their slips), most of the crowd who didn’t have to take the bus back to Eidsvold or Mundubbera opted to hang around the bar.
Earlier, the Fashion of the Field was announced, giving ladies the opportunity to show off their best dresses to a crowd of excited onlookers.
Glamourous Girl prize went to Trudy Wainwright.
Eidsvold Race Club President Lyle Murray thanked the crowd for their continued patronage of the annual races.
Mr Murray said the final race’s tight finished showcased some excellent horsemanship.
“It was a great race that last race, two really good horses doing battle for the final 1350 metres and came down to a head at the finish,” Mr Murray said.
“It was very good training effort from Darryl and good racing all around.”
“It was a great crowd, tremendous day of racing and it’s going to be bigger and better for the 130th.”