John Hamilton and jockey Hannah Phillips with their 2021 Burrandowan winner Oakfield Comanche (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's Gossip

October 20, 2023

Oakfield Comanche has spent his post-race time at Wondai chiefly in the winner’s slot.

From six attempts on the sand track, the chestnut with a blaze has captured four firsts, a second and a third.

On Saturday, owner-trainer John Hamilton would love to see the son of Dream Ahead (USA) earn its first $10,000 cheque in the Roy and Glenis Radunz Wondai Cup (1577m).

Such an outcome would also clinch a berth in the $200,000 Country Cups Challenge Final on December 2 at Doomben.

Nine of the gelding’s 10 career victories have been in partnership with Hannah Phillips, but this time the pairing have to cope with a trip almost 400 metres further than any previous assignment.

Although most pointers indicate that the distance could be a challenge, it should be noted that one his sire’s five Group One successes was in the Prix de la Foret over 1400 metres in France.

Awaken, a filly by Dream Ahead, prevailed over 1800 metres in the 2017 WATC One Thousand Guineas while another one of the progeny in Al Wakir (Ire) was ahead after covering the 1600 metres of the Prix Jacques le Marols.

Oakfield Comanche’s dam Dam Oakfield Duchess was placed over a mile at Scone while her gelded son Oakfield Honour won over 2000 metres at the same course.

Phillips, who has chalked up six placings this month, would love to turn the statistics around.

In September, her tally included doubles at Taroom and Gympie and a single at Nanango.

When based in Mackay, Olivia Cairns put the polish on Mason’s Chance, the hero of the inaugural Battle Of The Bush Final in 2018.

The Cairns-Justin Stanley unit repeated the dose last year with Ammoudi Bay.

Cairns is scheduled to bring A Fighting Fury and Springthorpe up from Beaudesert to claim a spot in the Country Cups Challenge Final.

* * *

Robbie Faehr hamming it up with Kelly Gates at Burrandowan in 2021 (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Jockey News

After picking up the minor money with Rose of Taormina at Gayndah last weekend, Adam Best continues his comeback at Wondai.

That was his first ride since March 2020 when he was fifth at Gympie on Lindsay Anderson’s charge Ruby Lil.

Best’s first mount is Sea Commits in the Peries IGA Wondai Benchmark 60.

The recent Dalby winner is prepared locally by Neville O’Toole.

The Caloundra hoop is aiming to include the northern provincials in his future programs.

* * *

The Wondai fraternity no doubt will be delighted if Kelly Gates can boot home Hewrecked’em in the Monica Ryan and Kathleen Hoult Memorial QTIS 0-50 Handicap.

Kristen Roon has done a superb job to score an Eidsvold win with the Holy Roman Emperor (Ire) gelding that didn’t race until it was a late five-year-old.

The added carrot is that Hewrecked’em is eligible for a QTIS bonus.

* * *

The meeting is an occasion to recall the brilliant feats of the female riders who landed all seven winners at the venue in March 1990.

Monica Ryan was the backbone of the meeting with Jo Downes, Jenny Cochrane and Debbie Osborne contributing one apiece.

Gold Coast apprentice Perrie Carter, one of the six lady riders in the ten horse Memorial field, will be over the moon if she can salute on the Gympie galloper Canny Boy.

The 28 year-old Irish born horse lover worked in Sir Mark Prescott‘s Newmarket yard prior to riding trackwork in New Zealand and then having stints with the Chris Waller and Peter Snowden stables in Sydney.

At her only engagement to date, she journeyed to Cunnamulla last Saturday and finished fourth on the legendary veteran Fab’s Cowboy.

* * *

Meanwhile, Robbie Faehr has prospered since shifting to Longreach for the 2022 season in the Central West.

The former Gympie horseman was named as the Premier Country Jockey at the recent Racing Queensland Thoroughbred Awards.

* * *

Apprentice Emily Pomfrett, having made her debut at Wondai in July, received the Queensland Student Of The Year prize.

The mature age rookie, having made her debut at Wondai in July, has travelled to pursue opportunities.

She landed a double at Cunnamulla last Saturday to add to a Springsure double and individual winners at Jundah, Morven and Surat.

Earlier this month, she sported silk at Gatton, Dalby and Murwillumbah.

Faehr and Pomfrett will both be in action at Blackall on Saturday.

By the way, James Orman, Racing Queensland’s George Moore Jockey Of The Year, recorded his first ever victory on Shadowy Past in the Burnett in 2012.

* * *

Joshua King attending to Incentivise (Anthony Allen) after a crushing victory at Ipswich in June 2021 (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Saturday’s Other Cup

Queensland had an ultra strong interest in the 2021 Caulfield Cup.

The hot favourite Incentivise bolted in.

Next up, the relative newcomer to Peter Moody’s string, then produced a valiant effort to down all bar Verry Ellegant in the Melbourne Cup when trying to make it ten straight.

That was his thirteenth start and the so called devil’s number came into play – the Shamus Award gelding was injured and never raced again.

Incentivise was originally trained at Toowoomba by his breeder and part owner Steve Treagea.

The handler of the horse that did not race until it was four was Joshua King, the journeyman who rode around the Burnett and other places far and wide.

Caulfield Cup winners that were trained in Queensland or had been domiciled in the state previously include Cole Diesel (1989), Bore Head (1965), Basha Felika (1951), Buzalong (1938) and High Syce (1929).

Queenslanders can take regard of Cup horses that have been in Brisbane during the winter. Visitors on the honour roll include the likes of Ethereal (2001), Arctic Scent (1996), Doriemus (1995), Paris Lane (1994), Ming Dynasty (1980), Sometime (1963), Tulloch (1957), Redcraze (1956), Rising Fast (1954) and Beaulivre (1940).

The 2023 Caulfield Cup contenders that wintered in Queensland are the Q22 quinella Without A Fight (Ire) and Noncomformist, the Caloundra Cup runner up, along with Bois D’Argent (GB) and the Queensland Derby runner up Fame, a member of the Moody- Katherine Coleman team.

Good luck in cornering a profit on the Cups on turf and sand.

* * *


  • Take cash to Wondai – There is no EFTPOS or ATM on course.
  • Spring Florals is the Fashion theme with categories for the Best Dressed Lady, Gentleman, Girl and Boy.
  • And do make a diary entry for the popular Kumbia fixture on Melbourne Cup Day (Tuesday, November 7).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.