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Cheyne Walks a Familiar Family Path to Cluden Winners’ Stall

Cheyne Walks a Familiar Family Path to Cluden Winners’ Stall

28th March 2022 | By Tony Wode

For Wulguru hobby trainer Cheyne Morrison racing is best done the family way.

It was no surprise then that when her gutsy mare Swahili Mai lasted to win at Cluden Park on Friday, emotions were running high in the saddling enclosure.

Morrison is walking a path well-trodden by her dad and mum John and Joann Maconachie who trained many winners in Townsville over almost 30 years.

“Dad was struggling health wise and needed a lift and that’s when I decided that we should do something that involved the whole family,” Morrison said.

“We had such a brilliant childhood growing up around the horses and those great experiences led to me getting a license.

“Mum and dad are still heavily involved. Mum came to the races for the first time in a long time to see the win. She’s my lucky charm.

“When I got home to the stables dad was waiting to ask me what the jockey said and go through it all. It was great. He’s my mentor and his knowledge is so important in what we do.”

To say racing is in the blood is an understatement. 

Morrison was named after the Tommy Smith-trained galloper of the 1970s Cheyne Walk, and sister Leilani after the great Bart Cummings stayer of the same era.

Since taking out a license two years ago, Morrison and husband Paul have had only 18 starters and Swahili Mai was their second winner.

And everyone – Morrison, Paul, and sons Kaidan and Riley – pitches in at the stables at the Maconachie place.

Countless photos of the Maconachie-trained winners adorn the sports room.

Good horses like Copper Express, Jo Luko and Saintly Cent are all up there.

Morrison has recently expanded her team to six, including two two-year-olds, and hopes more wins are on the way.

“We’ve only had a couple of tried horses in work until now and while we haven’t had that many starters we have had some tough luck too,” Morrison said.

“Polhampton is the best of them but is just injury prone. Swahili Mai has had bad barriers and finally came up with a good draw.

“She was great on Friday and it was a very well judged ride by Sheriden (Tomlinson, Brisbane based apprentice) to get her home.

“I think Swahili Mai can win a few more before she hits her mark.”

Wearing the well-known Maconachie purple and gold colours, Swahili Mai led all the way to win the Acumentis Property Valuers Cl1 Plate (1200m).

The sky is the limit for Rockhampton-trained gelding Namazu after a demolition job in the TAB Venue Mode Cl6 Plate (1609m).

A winner of the Townsville Guineas last year at his only other Cluden start, Namazu powered away for a brilliant six length win over Townsville Cup placegetter Play Me Now.

Fellow Rocky galloper The Egyptian was also impressive winning the Bush To Beach Pty Open Hcp (1000M).

The Egyptian had to pull out all stops to beat the smart Aspen Lad in a photo and provide promising Rockhampton apprentice Tahlia Fenlon with her 48th winner for the season at a remarkable strike rate of 18%.

Young Townsville trainer Matthew McGuire struck a blow for the locals when Mission House claimed the Knight Frank QTIS 2YO Mdn Hcp (1200m).

Ryan Wiggins took riding honours with a winning double on Namazu and El Of A Saga which won late in the program for trainer Fred Wieland.

Lacey Morrison is now the sole leader in the Townsville jockeys’ premiership after landing her 18th winner for the season aboard Ginger Mule.

Pictured: Swahili Mai, with apprentice Sheriden Tomlinson in the saddle wearing the Maconachie purple and gold, grips on win in a driving finish at Cluden Park for trainer Cheyne Morrison. .

See the racing calendar for upcoming race day