Rain shortens races, commemorations held

Rob Luck; Longreach Jockey Club

The Longreach RSL Club and Sub-Branch Digger’s Cup Race Day saw only three races completed, with welcome rain to the area causing the abandonment of races four and five on the program due to the state of the track and visibility issues.

Unfortunately, this meant the running of the 2022 Longreach RSL Diggers Cup Open Handicap over 1200 metres was abandoned that afternoon; but, with the cooperation of Racing QLD and the Barcaldine Racing Club, the Digger’s Cup will be added to the program at Barcaldine as part of the Country TAB meeting next Saturday.

However, three races were run and won on a track that continued to deteriorate during the afternoon, with visibility becoming an issue for jockeys as the rain settled in.

The opening event on the program was the Class B Handicap named in honour of Lance Corporal C.H. Freeman over the 1000 metres, and it proved an all-the-way win for the Clinton Austin trained Alleluia, ridden by John Rudd.

Alleluia gave nothing else a chance in the run to the line, to win by three-and-a-half lengths ahead of Lunar Glide, which showed pace throughout the race, and Mind Game which was having its first start for the Toni Schofield stable running in third place.

Alleluia had placed at Blackall in previous runs and was unplaced at Augathella last Monday, but it had quite a promising run there and it backed up well from that particular run to prove a convincing winner.

The second event on the program, the 2UP at RSL Maiden Plate lover 1200 metres saw the Patrick O’Toole trained Really Really Good, ridden by Robbie Faehr, prove too strong for Prized Artist and Osaka Sunset.

Really Really Good had gone down narrowly in the maiden race at Barcaldine last Saturday and had backed up really well from the run. It was able to settle just off the pace, come home hard in the straight, get away from Prized Artist 200 metres from the the line, and go on to win by almost three lengths.

Really Really Good has shown promising form and hopefully will be able to continue on from this maiden win, and give the Alpha and Barcaldine connections who part own the horse more success in the future.

The third and, what proved to be, final event on the program, the Longreach RSL Lest We Forget Benchmark 50 Handicap over 1200 metres was taken out by the Rodney Little trained and Emma Bell ridden, Purple Trumpet.

This warhead mare is building a decent record at Longreach having won three from eight starts on the track.

The mare was able to come down the centre of the track and gain the lead coming into the straight after racing wide just on the pace throughout and held off the challenge from Bound To Me to win by a length-and-a-quarter, with Wild Element, which had also been up on the pace, battling on for third – albeit it three-lengths away.

Purple Trumpet has now won five from 30 starts for the Little Stable, and is continuing with good form with the preparation after coming off a placing at its previous start.

After confering with jockeys, the stewards would choose to abandon races four and five, but, pleasingly, the Digger’s cup will be run as part of the Barcaldine TAB Country meeting.

It didn’t dampen the spirits of the small crowd in attendance who were enjoying the afternoon of racing, as well as, punting with local bookmakers.