More pages in this section
Funky Music All Set to Play for Ladies Day
Canny Wulguru trainer Garry “Muttaburra” Dickson is hoping a little Funky Music will be a winter racing carnival hit with the ladies at Cluden Park tomorrow.
Dickson’s handsome gelding Funky Music needs to win the Ray White Open Hcp (1200m) on the bumper Ladies Day card and earn a wild card entry into the Cleveland Bay Hcp next Saturday.
“It’d be nice to get him it. He’s got everything going for him – he’s racing well, he’s got a light weight and he drew one alley,” Dickson said.
“I think he’ll be hard to beat, but it’ll come down to whether he’s good enough to beat the favourite, Bold Type.
“There’s plenty of other horses with a higher rating than him, so he has to win tomorrow to get a run (Cleveland Bay).
Affectionately known as Muttaburra, after his home town, Dickson has trained in Townsville for close to 35 years.
These days he only prepares a small string of horses, but has earned a reputation over the years as one of the shrewdest horsemen in the business.
He’s never won a Cleveland Bay Hcp. He calls it his hoodoo race, but is hoping the beautifully conformed Funky Music can give him another shot at the north’s biggest sprint.
“I’ve gone close but never won it,” Dickson said.
“I ran second with National Bid. He was fourth emergency and got a run and was beaten a nose.
“Another year I had a horse called Chantilly Pace, and won seven straight with him leading into it but he was an emergency and didn’t get a run.
“Funky Music is no world beater but he’s a beautiful type and he’s been good to us.
“He’s in it up to his ears tomorrow and it’d be terrific if he could win.”
Funky Music has Graham Kliese in the saddle and will be up against a small but quality field that includes the Stephen Massingham-trained Bold Type, the free running Only Wanna Sing and newcomers Simply Splashing and Ronan’s Rock.
Race track statistics can often be misleading, and Cairns trainer Fred Wieland is hoping his good mare El Of A Saga can prove a point with a breakthrough win in the Ray White Townsville Bracelet (1300m), the feature for fillies and mares.
El Of A Saga is yet to win at Cluden in 11 starts, but has been placed against strong company, including a second to the in-form Willygood two starts back.
Wieland said the mare had been unlucky a number of times in Townsville and was in top order to get the monkey off her back in the Bracelet.
“I think she should have won a couple of times in Townsville but just had no luck. It’d be nice to finally get a win tomorrow,” Wieland said.
“She’s got plenty of ability, but we’ve had a mile of dramas with her.
“There’s a couple of smart ones in the race but she’s trouble free and going well and I expect her to be in the first three.”
The Bracelet has drawn a strong field including Cluden specialist Bold Eos, a three-time winning on the track, and the Georgie Hold trainer Let’s Go Bobby which comes into the race with back to back wins in Mackay.
Meanwhile, a number of Townsville Cup hopefuls will have their final hit-out in the Ray White Townsville Open Handicap (2000m).
Leading contenders include the Cody Morgan-trained Bajan Gold, last year’s Cup runner-up Tunero, Guanzhou and the Darryl Hansen-trained Fast Train.
The race provides the winner with ballot-free entry into next Saturday’s Cup.
Pictured: Garry “Muttaburra” Dickson and laid back sprinter Funky Music all primed and ready for Ladies Day .
See the racing calendar for upcoming race days.