Achilles heel of country racing addressed

The Longreach Jockey Club plans to invest thousands of dollars into upgrading the course, and ongoing support for local jockeys. PHOTO: supplied

Longreach Jockey Club President Andrew Watts along with his wingman Rob Luck discussed how they could attract more jockeys to Central West circuit to alleviate the ongoing shortage of jockeys.

They are planning to implement a Jockeys premiership starting at Blackall?on February 27.

Watts hopes to build the pool to $5000 and split the winnings to $3000 for 1st, $1400 for 2nd, and $600 for 3rd.

Watts said the support from the race clubs in the region had been excellent.

Toni Austin from Barcaldine Race Club strongly supported the initiative along with Paul Banks from Blackall who also supported the concept.

Several other clubs have strongly supported it also.

Watts said he’d love to spread the love evenly between the 3 but the shortage of jockeys is the Achilles heel of racing in Western Queensland and it must be addressed as soon as possible.

In other racing news, the Longreach Jockey Club has voted to spend $30,000 on upgrading the training track which requires a major overhaul.

Racing kicks off in Longreach?on March 20?and the upgrade will cause no disruptions to the upcoming race meetings.

Gun Barcaldine apprentice Alisha Ross made the trek to Rockhampton to ride at her first tab meeting recently.

Unfortunately Ross had a nasty fall in race 1 after being dislodged from the Adrian Coome trained horse.

Apparently while it was a nasty scare, Ross said she pulled up a little sore and shaken, but she was okay.

Ross wasn’t able to continue to ride for the day, and she now hopes the season will run smoothly and is looking forward to racing resuming in Blackall on February 28.

Ray Herman’s Star Winton galloper Bollente will resume on Friday at Cluden park in Townsville weather permitting and will be ridden by regular jockey Matthew Gray.