Former top Queensland apprentice jockey James Orman makes a rare return to a mid-week meeting at Callaghan Park racecourse today.
Former top Queensland apprentice jockey James Orman makes a rare return to a mid-week meeting at Callaghan Park racecourse today. Rob Williams

Orman makes rare return to mid-week racing in Rocky

HORSE RACING: Former top Queensland apprentice jockey James Orman, who took Rockhampton racing by storm some seasons back, makes a rare return to a mid-week meeting at Callaghan Park racecourse today.

Orman was a "late call-up” for the meeting, standing in for jockey Matthew McGillivray who sustained heavy bruising after a fall at Beaudesert races on Tuesday rendering him unfit to ride today.

The irony is that both Orman and McGillivray, 26, virtually "cut their teeth” at Callaghan Park TAB race meetings before going on to successful careers in metropolitan racing.

Orman 21, has battled weight difficulties throughout his career which has notched 447 winners for prize money earnings of just over $11.2m.

One of those winners that figures prominently in his status was the Darryl Gardiner trained Victory Hotel the winner of the 2015 Rockhampton Cup.

Orman's four rides on today's seven race Rockhampton jockey Club card are all in the high weight scale bracket.

They are A Real Gem (Race 1 - TAB 1); Potemkin (R 3 - TAB 5); Lady No More (R 4 - TAB 1) and Timetus (R 7 - TAB 5).

Apart from the visiting stable of Ian Livingstone which is represented by Lady No More, the remainder are prepared by Roma mentor Craig Smith.

The irony is that Matt McGillivray, who was originally booked for the Smith trio, was apprenticed to that trainer.

Matt McGillivray is unfit to ride today after sustaining heavy bruising after a fall at Beaudesert races on Tuesday.
Matt McGillivray is unfit to ride today after sustaining heavy bruising after a fall at Beaudesert races on Tuesday. Rob Williams

Smith's trio all have strong form lines which means Orman has genuine prospects of a winning treble for that trainer alone.

Rockhampton trainer Ricky Vale enjoying a stellar season has every chance of enhancing his impressive winning figures with newcomer Frugal (TAB 3) in the opening race the Maiden Handicap (1100m).

While at first glance Frugal's last five numerals of 96378 which precede his name in form guides are not impressive, they are however misleading.

Frugal has been racing in far better company around the Sydney provincials where he has been on the speed or leading in his races while finishing in fairly close proximity to the winners.

That form is far and away superior to that of his rivals in a humble (without any form of disrespect) Rockhampton Maiden.

Vale has secured the services of Ryan Wiggins who has "earned his wings” so to speak this season as a fly-in with fellow Brisbane jockeys.

Once again it is a case of "par for the Callaghan Park course” with only four local jockeys being able to be scratched up with the salvation of racing the "fly-in and drive-in” jockeys coming to the rescue of Rockhampton TAB race meetings.

The same is the case at Mackay and Townsville TAB race meetings so as the old timers say "haven't times changed”.

Indeed so, but it was a return to the "good old days” of Callaghan Park Saturday race meetings when an estimated 4000-plus, mainly the younger partying set, crammed the racecourse there last Saturday.

It was of course Rockhampton racing's biggest race day - the St Peters Caulfield Cup Day races.

At one stage just before 2pm, a line-up stretching over 70 metres long was queued outside the course at the entry gates.

It's a far cry from the midweek racing circuit be it Brisbane or Rockhampton when just a few hundred hardened racegoers with the majority industry participators going racing.

Racing heads to Gladstone on Saturday coinciding with Winx's fourth Cox Plate Day win at Moonee Valley.

Then the following Saturday it is off to a bumper day's racing at Keppel Park, Yeppoon.



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