CQ rider takes out War­wick Gold Cup for sec­ond time

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - GEORDI OFFORD Geordi.offord@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

FOR 30 years, Steve Comiskey has been hit­ting the cam­p­draft cir­cuit and tak­ing out wins across the state.

His most re­cent, the 2018 Pryde’s EasiFeed Gold Cup in War­wick, is the most pres­ti­gious ti­tle in Aus­tralian cam­p­draft­ing.

The rider from Capella, Cen­tral Queens­land, first at­tended the event when he was just six years old.

This year marked the sec­ond time Comiskey has taken out the il­lus­tri­ous ti­tle af­ter win­ning in 2009 and plac­ing sec­ond in 2015. For the sec­ond suc­ces­sive year, he was in a run-off. He ended up third last year.

At the end of the fi­nal, he had 268 on Broom­field Stylish Di­a­mond, the same score as Wee Waa rider Sam Knight on O’Lara.

In the run-off, Knight was first in camp but his beast proved trou­ble­some on course and he fin­ished with a cut-out score only.

Comiskey could have been tempted to take it easy in his run as he had to only record a score on the course to win.

He did more than that, record­ing 91, a score as good as any in the com­pe­ti­tion.

“It def­i­nitely puts a smile on your face,” he said.

“I wasn’t too ner­vous, the worst out­come was sec­ond.

“I was pretty happy with the win.”

Comiskey said they had al­ready been on the road for a few weeks be­fore the event, which helped pre­pare for the renowned draft in War­wick.

“It’s like a bit of a hol­i­day for us,” he said.

“We were at Con­damine for a few days and then at Chin­chilla for a week.

“I wasn’t feel­ing too con­fi­dent go­ing into War­wick be­cause I didn’t do that well in the other two.”

He said there were three things he loved most about the sport.

“We love the coun­try peo­ple, the horses and the cat­tle,” he said.

“We do roughly 20 cam­p­drafts a year, it’s al­ways good to catch up with a lot of our good friends.”

The Comiskey name is renowned in the horse sport, with his older brother Pete an­other top com­peti­tor at the events. Steve said his big brother was one of his great­est in­flu­ences.

“We’re al­ways try­ing to beat each other,” he said.

“We’re good mates, we’re al­ways talk­ing about cam­p­draft­ing, whether it’s how to con­trol the horse or chase cat­tle.”

With many years of ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt, Steve runs clin­ics to help oth­ers im­prove their draft­ing skills.

“It’s a good feel­ing to be able to help peo­ple out, most of them get a lot out of the clin­ics and are keen but don’t get to do a lot of stock work like they did years ago,” he said.

Steve met his wife Louise at the Capella Cam­p­draft in

2000 and their pas­sion for the sport has been passed down to their daugh­ters, Darcy-Rose and Lilly-Lou.

“They don’t do as many as we do but they love com­pet­ing in the mi­nis,” he said.

For Steve, home is his

16,966ha prop­erty, Lyra Park, near Capella, where he runs a com­mer­cial santa gertrudis oper­a­tion.

“We’ve got to get our jobs done within three or four days be­fore we head off to a draft,” he said.

“But they usu­ally only go for two to three days.”

He said he’d no­ticed in re­cent years the events had been get­ting big­ger.

“It’s harder to get into them now,” he said.

“I think it’s be­cause it’s a good fam­ily sport and ev­ery­one can have a go.”

While win­ning the War­wick Gold Cup twice is a high­light for Steve, he said there were many wins that stood out.

“One of them was win­ning the Graeme Ac­ton Me­mo­rial Draft a few years ago and the Grand­fa­ther Clock last year at Chin­chilla,” he said.

PHOTO: GER­ARD WALSH

WIN­NING RUN: Steve Comiskey scores 91 in a run-off to win the Pryde’s EasiFeed War­wick Gold Cup Cam­p­draft at the War­wick Show­grounds.

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