Sweet Venom (Hannah Richardson) just prior to finishing third in the 2021 Battle of the Bush Qualifier at Burrandown
(Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's Gossip

May 20, 2022

UPDATE: Saturday’s race meeting has been abandoned due to the rain.

About 15mm of rain has fallen at the racetrack overnight leaving surface water, making the track unsuitable for racing. Rain is still falling with further forecast.

Due to the abandonment, a non-TAB race meeting has been scheduled for Nanango on Sunday, May 29.

The race program remains the same as previously scheduled, with amendments to the prizemoney.


Saturday’s eight race TAB card at Nanango somewhat unsurprisingly drew 141 acceptors, including 45 reserves.

There are enough emergencies to hold a decent five event non-TAB program with that batch alone.

The recent run of washed out and transferred meetings makes for a backlog of horses needing a start.

Connections spread the risk when there is widespread rain around and often nominate for a variety of fixtures.

It will be a logistical challenge providing tie-up stall accommodation for what is likely to be close to 96 runners.

At the time of the barrier draw on Thursday, the Lee Park course was rated a soft 6 with 97 millimetres rain registered in the previous seven days.

Earlier in the week it had been a Heavy 8.

Incidentally, more than 25 individual jockeys have engagements for the Lee Park action.

A third attempt at staging the first of two Battle of the Bush Qualifiers at South East Queensland Racing Association courses has been lined up.

After the abandonment of four races at Burrandowan, the leg was rescheduled for Bundaberg.

And when that program was cancelled, Nanango has been given its chance to play host.

Sweet Venom, a last start Caloundra winner in soft going, has an opportunity to secure a spot in another lucrative $200,000 finale at Eagle Farm.

Glenn Richardson’s charge was in last year’s foray but began poorly.

That scenario is unhelpful in the pressure packed metric six furlong contest.

The daughter of Golden Snake as well as Boingo, See For Yourself, Moscini, Jochberg and Love Ya Blue were Burrandowan hopefuls that are slotted to compete in the substitute at Nanango.

In the Bechly’s Transport Benchmark 55 Handicap (800m), the South Burnett candidates Kentford, I Am Fearless and Igbo will be suited by the trip.

Igbo’s trainer Tom Moloney and his part-owners Bob and Dorothy Black would have cherished a triumph on the track at Burrandowan’s Centenary celebrations.

The long time district stalwarts feature in Dr Judith Grimes 100 Years of Racing at Burrandowan, a meticulously researched 300 page tome that delivers an extremely comprehensive coverage of events, horses and players linked to the Chahpingah course.

In the Nanango RSL-Margaret and Garry Banks Memorial QTIS Class 3 Plate (1000m), the South Burnett representatives will have to cope with wide barriers.

Neville O’Toole bypassed Burrandowan with A Good Chance.

But the Love Conquers All four-year-old did the trick over 860 metres on a soft surface at Gatton while Glenn Richardson’s lodger

Sherwood Prince is aiming for a fourth win to add to the seven placings thus far registered from 16 opportunities.

* * *

The field for Burrandowan’s only race in 2022 captured just after barrier rise. (Photo: RQ source)

Wrapping Up Burrandowan

The morning rating for the Burrandowan circuit was a Good 4 for the May 7 program, but it was downgraded to a Soft 5 at 1.00pm, a half an hour before the starting time for the opener.

The following extracts from the report by the stewards panel led by Kym Daly explain aspects of the first (and only) race decided:

After the field had been loaded rainfall intensity increased with the race run in heavy rain, and as a result the track was downgraded retrospectively to a Heavy 8.

Igbo’s rider Gemma Steele reported she refrained from pressuring the horse from the 300 metres after it became unbalanced due the wet track conditions.

Hangry began awkwardly and lost ground. Rider Gary Geran reported he was struck in the eye by a clod near the 800 metres which had an adverse impact on his visibility for the remainder of the race.

As My Taranaki had not started for an extended period, the horse underwent a pre-race veterinary examination, was cleared to start, began awkwardly and lost ground.

Approaching the finish line, Rapid Eagle shied and shifted out resulting in rider Hannah Richardson being obliged to stop riding the horse in her usual manner at that point.

Connections advised that the widely drawn True Tally would be ridden back if circumstances permit. It was ridden accordingly and was wide throughout.

Following the running of this event Stewards delayed the start of Race 2 and conducted an inspection of the racing surface along with a delegation of riders and Club officials. Two sections near the 1000 metres and the 1400 metres were identified as having significant amounts of water lying on track, and given the forecast of continuing steady rain for the remainder of the afternoon, Races 2 – 5 were abandoned after consultation with Racing Qld officials at 2:45pm.

Meanwhile, Kaliya, a Rothesay mare with wet track form, scored as favourite in the Gilliland Livestock Marketing-Patrons Trophy.

After jockey Morgan Butler quickly found galloping room towards the inside in the straight, the discard from Robert Heathcote’s Brisbane yard prevailed in easier company than she had faced in her earlier city and provincial outings.

Lenny Mawn, the chestnut’s Chinchilla trainer and part owner, was looking to claim a place in the Battle of the Bush final.

Later in the day he was due to saddle up Dynamic Verse, the Bel Esprit gelding formerly prepared by Natalie McCall.

The bay had credentials on soft and heavy surfaces.

On May 28, Chinchilla is set to host Jandowae’s washed out Qualifier.

Mawn already has a Battle of the Bush trophy courtesy of Hanover Square.

The Manhattan Rain gelding was in the care of Bevan Johnson for just two tasks in June 2019.

He won the Barcaldine Qualifier and then the Final with Michael Cahill in the saddle.

* * *

Former stellar jockey Malcolm Johnston relished being in the steward’s chair at Burrandowan (Photo: Ross Stanley)

No Weather Miracle For Mal

Former champion jockey Malcolm Johnston’s nickname was “Miracle”.

On the eve of the Burrandowan meeting, the crowd at the Kingaroy’s Carrollee Hotel relished absorbing the highly accomplished public speaker’s anecdotes and reminiscences.

As Tommy Smith’s stable hoop, he was Kingston Town’s successful partner for 25 of the Bletchingly gelding’s 30 victories.

The boy from the state’s Central West won three Sydney premierships.

The first was in 1975-76 when he was indentured to Theo Green with further titles coming his way in 1977-78 and 1986-87.

Given that Johnston’s website indicates the now 65-year-old copped 56 suspensions during his career, it was ironic to see him occupy the steward’s chair at Burrandowan.

Suffice it to say, he definitely did not sideline any rider.

Of course, the occupancy took place after the abandonment was declared.

Note: My personal thanks go to the aforementioned Bob Black. Despite having Igbo in the race, he kindly held my beach umbrella over my binocular gear and our good selves so that the first at Burrandowan could be called.

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