17 December, 2022
Christmas spirit shines at Esk race day
AROUND 600 people flocked to the Christmas Esk Races last Saturday for the club’s second biggest meeting of the year.
Families and friends gathered for their end-of-year celebrations and enjoyed six races as well as food and drink vans, betting and Christmas- themed fashions on the field.
Esk Jockey Club treasurer Carmel Lynch said the event was not only a celebration of Christmas and the end of a tough year, but also a showcase of the Brisbane Valley and what it has on offer.
Before the first race, a minute of silence was observed to honour the two police officers killed at Wieambilla: Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold.
The start of the racing was also delayed by about 10 minutes due to the ambulance being held up upon arrival.
As for the six races, there was ample unpredictability as the odds-on favourite won only once.
Half of the races had a tiny margin between the first and second placegetters, and the glory was shared throughout the afternoon as each race had a different winning jockey and trainer(s).
Conditions were fine while the track was rated a Good 4 at first, and then upgraded to a Good 3 after the third race.
The opening race was the shortest, as there was a field of 12 for the 800m race.
Equal-fifth favourite That’ll Be The Day finished a mere 0.2 of a length ahead of the second favourite while the odds-on favourite was in third place, one length behind the victor. Beau Gorman was the winning trainer while the jockey was John Kissick.
A post-race veterinary examination revealed the winning horse had bled from both nostrils for the first time, and that the horse would be stood down for three months.
The next three races were 1200m, with the first of them being the lone occasion that the odds-on favourite met expectations.
The Mark Currie-trained and Nathan Fazackerley-ridden Better Than Roses won the second race of the day by 2.5 lengths in the field of nine.
In the third race, the Tony and Maddysen Sears-trained and Cecily Eaton-ridden Straight Alphas had the longest odds in the field of eight. But this didn’t faze the trainers or jockey, as Straight Alphas won the race by two lengths while the favourite placed fourth.
In the last of the 1200m races, the victor was the third favourite while the next two placegetters were the second favourite and the odds-on favourite in the field of eight.
The Corey and Kylie Geran-trained and Landan Sykes-ridden See For Yourself finished just half a length ahead of the runner-up, while the third placegetter was 2.8 lengths behind the winner.
The fifth race of the day was 1460m, with the third favourite again reigning supreme.
The Kaye Hill-trained and Brendon Newport-ridden Prince of Diamonds won by 1.5 lengths, while the favourite was the runner-up. The secondfavourite finished in seventh and last place, 10 lengths behind the victor.
The final race was 1750m, with second favourite Elizano coming first while the odds-on favourite came fourth in the field of eight.
Elizano recovered well after standing flat-footed at the start and losing ground.
The winning trainer was Dale Groves and the jockey was Paul Hamblin, while the gap between first and second was half a length.
Only 0.2 of a length separated second from third, while the fourth-placed and odds-on favourite Star Diva finished fourth lengths behind the third placegetter.