Jockey Anna Bakos, Schindler and strapper Nicole Vuille in the winner’s slot at Wondai last July (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's GossipJune 8, 2020

Hopefully Nicole Vuille, 29, will soon saddle up her first winner.

Things just didn’t work out for the former widely travelled jockey when Machu Picchu ran fifth from an outside gate at Dalby last Tuesday.

The mare that previously provided Brian Flaherty with a deal of fun, travelled wide with the speed on.

It was not intended to lead with the daughter of Krupt and the early pressure told over the final part.

Nicole was aboard the bay at times in trackwork during her stint as a member of Glenn Richardson’s staff.

During that period she was Schindler’s handler when the Snitzel gelding saluted at Wondai last winter.

Caloundra trainer David Peoples, impressed with the way Nicole controlled a bolter at pony club, got her started in the game.

She had a mobile apprenticeship with stays with the likes of Danny Williams at Goulburn, Bathurst’s Peter Stanley and Rockhampton trainers Lyle Rowe and Jared Wehlow. She also competed in the Sapphire Coast area.

Nicole booted home 18 winners during her New South Wales chapter that ended with a fall at Tumut in the spring of 2011.

The injury to her left shoulder naturally kept her away from race day silk.

A side benefit to the absence was that her concerted efforts to strengthening her affected arm led to her switching to left hand whip use.

Nicole also studied psychology at Rockhampton before resuming race riding.

She did not lose her touch during the lay off – on her second day back in December 2014 at Thangool, she registered the first treble of her career.

She went on to win premierships at Emerald, Thangool and Mackay, taking out the 2015 Carly-Mae Pye Memorial on Stanathol, the 2015 Middlemount Cup with Javelentia and the 2015 Gladstone Cup when Ferment’s six rivals were all ridden by females.

Sadly, in August 2016, a barrier incident involving Rahula at Dingo inflicted cervical, lumbar, spinal and head injuries.

She has lodged a $750,000 damages claim against four plaintiffs.

Nicole, a one time breaker for Peter Moody and Mark Cavanough, and her partner Adam Briskey presently also have Kingspiel Legacy, Miss Dolly and Gartmorn in their racing string.

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Remembering A Favourite Called Roughie

Saturday’s Stradbroke meeting lacked the atmosphere generated by Rough Habit, an idol of the 1990s (Photo: Ross Stanley)
Thirty years ago, Rough Habit – a New Zealand gelding produced by the mating of Roughcast and Certain Habit – took the eye when he landed the 1990 Queensland Derby laurels.

The gritty competitor went on to collect ten more Group One events including two Stradbrokes, three Doomben Cups, two AJC All Aged Stakes, AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the VATC Caulfield Stakes.

Wynnum resident Ken Linnett, the racing aficionado and former Melbourne journalist who won the 2018 Bill Whittaker award for his equine biography about Tulloch, has delightfully followed on with his new book titled “Rough Habit – An Unlikely Champion”.

The Hardie Grant publication is a compelling narrative that embraces lots of new informative anecdotes.

It is great to see well researched literature, that covers a wonderful era of excitement in Queensland, come on to the market.

Linnett’s book is available online for about $20 per copy.

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Bits And Bridles

  • When Doomben and Eagle Farm became wartime military bases, racing was very popular at Albion Park. Although the Queensland Turf Club was able to stage meetings there, the organisation opted to shelve their feature events and four Stradbrokes, beginning in 1942, were lost. Wags may suggest that this year’s unusual renewal, with its purse cut from $1,500,000 to $350,000 be called the North Stradbroke Handicap. The defending titleholder Trekking and its stablemate Kementari are the only two Group One victors in the contest.
  • At Bundaberg on Tuesday, local galloper Al’s Brief and Hannah Phillips chalked up their eighth victory as a team.
  • The racing schedule for the next few weeks of June includes non-TAB programs at Charleville, Chinchilla, Charters Towers, Mount Isa, Barcaldine, Gayndah, Innisfail and Roma.
  • Owners of starters will be admitted to Randwick on Saturday, subject to strict Government Public Health Orders. Racing Queensland has announced that the use of the zones is now over and that 20 people can attend meetings as spectators. Although this is an unviable number, increases may be allowed soon. By the way, when British racing resumed this week after a complete shutdown, jockeys and barrier staff had to wear masks. We can only hope that when racing returns in full we still recognise each other.

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