May 21, 2021
Black Angus cattleman and former Port Stephens mayor Bruce Mackenzie, now 83, relished “cowboy and indian“ movies when he was a 10-year-old.
Bruce is a long term thoroughbred breeder and owner, and the names for his bloodstock all begin with Oakfield in honour of his family property at Salt Ash near Newcastle.
Examples include Oakfield Hiawatha, Oakfield Tepee and Oakfield Geronimo, the recent Beaudesert winner whose brother Oakfield Comanche is looking to make it four in a row on Saturday at Nanango.
Over time, Mackenzie developed a profound admiration for the Comanches’ toughness, resilience and bareback riding ability.
Oakfield Comanche’s paternal side is chockful of class.
His sire Dream Ahead (USA), a five times winner of Group One sprints in England and France, was the result of Darley’s matching the European Group winners Diktat (GB) and Land of Dreams (GB).
Glass Slippers (Prix del’Abbaye de Longchamp, USA Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint) was one of four by Dream Ahead that prevailed at the elite level in the northern hemisphere.
Dream Ahead’s mating with Shamekha (T. J. Smith Stakes, Coolmore Classic, All Aged Stakes) produced the stakeswinner Shumookh while the best of his Queenslanders is Dreams Aplenty (Gunsynd Classic, Gold Coast Cup).
One of Bruce’s key principles may have benefitted Oakfield Comanche.
“I never have and never will race a horse before they have turned three,” said Mackenzie.
Oakfield Comanche was originally with Kristen Buchanan at Wyong, where his only outings were in barrier trials.
Remarkably, he ran third to Oakfield Apache in a Gosford trial in May last year before coming north.
The late Kaylene Hamilton. who raced the chestnut with her husband John, saddled him up for a career debut success at Wondai as an October four-year-old in 2020.
The on pace sprinter, that will jump from the inside stall in the Macdonalds Kingaroy 0-65 Ratings Band (1200m), has prevailed five times from eight opportunities.
Form study reveals that all three defeats were registered on soft going, but the Nanango record is an unblemished two from two and Hannah Phillips has been his only jockey.
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Oakfield Comanche’s Wondai based trainer Janene Armstrong also has a shot with First Bid in the FTA Accountants BM 55 Handicap.
The Sidereus gelding is a Lee Park winner, performs well over 800 metres and scored first up at Gympie last month.
Other South Burnett trainers eyeing a piece of the pie are Kym Afford with Momentum Glory, Nicole Vuille (Machu Picchu), Scott Pedron (Serriano and Khalija Dreaming) and Laurie Curtain (Copsinthedonutshop).
Pat Duff, the Deagon horseman, who cut his teeth in the Burnett, is in with a show with Proudly Grey.
Meanwhile, Daunting Warrior had complied a 34:3-7-3 record across four different stables prior to his Wondai appearance on Anzac Day for Gympie conditioner (and part owner) Shane Parsons.
The bay by Daunting Lad scored decisively on the sand that day and repeated the dose a fortnight ago on the grass at Burrandowan.
Unfortunately Octagonal’s fit grandson has drawn gate 11 in the Heritage Bank Nanango BM 55 Handicap (1600m).
With his winning partner Isabella Teh riding at Wandoan, fellow three kilogram claimer Rebecca Wilson will be the pilot for the attempt on the hat trick.
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The Sunshine Coast galloper Craiglea Arion is a danger.
Krystle Johnson’s charge decimated the opposition over the same distance at Lee Park in December, and Hannah Richardson will be on top again.
In the Nanango RSL-Margaret and Garry Banks Memorial-QTIS Class 2, Hannah handles Sherwood Prince for her trainer-husband Glenn.
Although the two-year-old is taking on the older horses, the handicapper has not been kind in allotting the Better Than Ready gelding 60.5 kilograms, a weight that is four kilograms above the minimum.
Furthermore, the bay will start from a very wide alley.
Saturday’s Lee Park card with its TAB prizemoney level has come together very well.
A positive response to the extension of nominations for four races swelled the acceptances, and 47 millimetres of recent rain has played a part in securing a good track rating.
Again, a consequence of the lucrative QTIS scheme is that 16 of the 17 that made the final field for the Class 2 event are bonus-eligible.
Candidates for the program are coming from as far afield as Bundaberg, Warwick and Beaudesert.
- Related article: Full Fields For Nanango Races