May 2, 2022
The Anzac Day fixture at Wondai was one of thrills and spills.
On the positive side, local trainer Kristen Roon chalked up her first home-ground victory when Gemma Steele scored on Vizone in the Maiden.
The Eurozone gelding is raced by Kristen, her husband Bodie and her parents Jeff and Narelle Wenck.
The team missed by a short neck back in January 2019 with Ascot Bound in the Col Ryan Memorial, a Wondai event named in honour of Narelle’s father.
Roon has done a great job with the four year-old. His three tasks for her also yielded a Nanango placing nine days earlier.
Another highlight was Hard Stride’s short head success in the Wondai Diggers Club Cup (1000m).
It was a superb effort by an eleven-year-old that brought the career form line to 107: 17-18-14.
The evergreen was full of beans during his preliminary and competed with youthful vim and vigour.
After a lengthy battle with Sherwood Prince (Hannah Richardson), it gained the upper hand and was drawing away.
However, close to the finish line, the Street Sense gelding put in an awkward stride and was eased by Paul Hamblin.
The jockey told the steward Kym Daly that he felt the horse may have broken down.
Daly subsequently reported: “On review of the patrol footage, it appeared that Hard Stride may have struck itself at this point of the race. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities.”
Hard Stride has been a real marvel. Among the three city wins in Melbourne was the Listed Regal Roller Stakes at Caulfield back in August 2014.
The first Queensland chapter produced two wins and five placings in Brisbane and first prizes at Dalby and Toowoomba for trainer Tony Sears.
Since early 2019, Hard Stride has been prepared at Toowoomba by Jason Judge. The side has also occupied the winner’s slot at Roma, Caloundra, Calliope, Chinchilla, Moree, Gympie, Doomben and Gladstone.
Another positive note was Hannah Richardson’s double on Foxy Rose for Jackie Crompton’s yard and Sherwood Prince’s full sister Princess Marian for her husband Glenn.
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The downside was an extraordinary accident in the straight when Eddiegato was duelling for the honours with the Rockhampton visitor Attackabeel.
The Steward’s report stated that “Eddiegato shifted out abruptly near the 100 metres despite the efforts of rider Todd Banks and made heavy contact with Attackabeel which resulted in both Banks and Justin Stanley, rider of Attackabeel being dislodged from their respective mounts. Igbo, which was following, was severely checked as a consequence and both La Belle La Belle and Roman Reign were checked.”
Banks suffered an injury to his right knuckle while Stanley suffered some discomfort to his right shoulder. A post-race veterinary examination of both Eddiegato and Attackabeel revealed no abnormalities.
So with five of the eight runners affected by the mishap, the episode was somewhat akin to Steven Bradbury’s 2002 Winter Olympic skating triumph when he won the 1000 metre event for Australia after all of his rivals were mixed up in a last-corner pile-up.
This time, it was Morgan Butler, who had been rearward aboard Dawnstar, who skirted the trouble and drew clear on the inside for an easy win.
Ironically, the $17 rank outsider sported silk comprising Australia’s Olympic colours of green and gold.
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The Loss Of A Stalwart
I am personally saddened to report that Norm Andresen, the long-time clerk of the scales at Wondai, Burrandowan and Kumbia, died on April 23.
The 88-year-old was a South Burnett Race Club member, very active with the Wondai Pony Club and a skilled rodeo rider. He was also a successful trainer, particularly with the mare Evonne’s Fancy.
Norm was a racehorse farrier, a Cowboys Rugby League fan and, as a bushie, naturally enjoyed the famous Tamworth Country Music Festival.
As a mark of respect and affection, a minute’s silence was observed and jockeys wore black armbands.
Riders such as Hannah Phillips and Hannah Richardson have been alongside Norm countless times during the race day weighing process.
Norm was husband to Janice, father and father-in-law to Jacki and Brett, Sheryl and Alan and a grandfather and great-grandfather.
Condolences are extended to Norm’s relatives and friends.
His graveside funeral service will be held in the Wondai Lawn Cemetery, on the Bunya Highway, on Friday, May 6, at 2:30pm.
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For this Saturday’s centenary of the first race meeting at Burrandowan, it will thankfully be business as usual with no Covid restrictions and the return of full scale camping.
Patrons will find everything they need to know by visiting the club’s wonderfully comprehensive website at burrandowan.com.au
Topics covered include a travel map and directions, online ticketing, clay target shoot, fashion contests, eating options, Saturday night pit fired BBQ and entertainment, historical background, camping details plus links to other accommodations and an invaluable Frequently Asked Questions.
Please note carefully that there is no TAB, no ATM and no reliable mobile phone service.
Inquiries about bus transport to and from the course should be directed to Pursers Coaches on (07) 4168-1533.
The former champion jockey and raconteur Mal Johnston will be in attendance on Friday at 6:30pm at the Carrollee Hotel [4 King Street, Kingaroy, (07) 4162-1055].
Also, to celebrate 100 Years at Burrandowan, a commemorative book will be on sale at the track at a marquee close to the hall from 11:00am.
Don’t forget to bring extra cash for what would be a great Mother’s Day present!
The soft cover version costs $44 with a limited number of hard covers for $82.50.
The club’s ultra long=serving Ted Fisher will launch the book on the hall verandah after the first event.
Note: A Burrandowan preview will be published here later this week.