For luxury horse accommodation in Brisbane over the past month, Barry Lockwood’s infield stables at Eagle Farm have rolled out the five-star treatment for visitors, with outstanding results.
Group 2 Victory Stakes champion Victorem called Lockwood’s yard home for his stay and so did Tracey Bartley’s upset Listed winner In Good Time.
“I used to travel a lot myself once, it’s nice when you know you can send a horse somewhere and it will be fine. That’s so important,” Lockwood said.
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Ozark has been a resident the past few weeks and provided the track doesn’t come up heavy, he will be a leading chance in the last event on the card at Doomben on Saturday.
Lockwood said if not, he would be saved for another race next week.
“He came up a couple of weeks before his first run,’’ he said. “I’ve known his trainer Cody (Morgan) and his brother Luke since they were young boys.
“They used to ride my horses in Tamworth.”
Lockwood, who soon turns 67, is well versed with visiting horses, having accommodated 16 during last year’s carnival when The Bostonian came out of his former stable near the old raceday stalls to win dual Group 1 races.
“Tony (Pike) had a full team of staff looking after them and we only provided the accommodation,” Lockwood said. “This year it’s been different because of the rules around trainers not being able to travel. So it’s been more like a full-time job.
“I had five visiting horses at one stage and I spent more time ringing the trainers than my own owners! But it’s good when they win. When Victorem won, that was marvellous.
“Jenny Graham and I have been great friends for many years.
“It’s just a shame he got a (bone) chip when he ran in the Stradbroke.”
This year Lockwood has moved to the Eagle Farm infield, where he has 22 boxes and also uses others when available from Brian Smith and Chris Meagher.
“It took me a while to adjust, because it’s a bigger area and I don’t walk as well as I used to,’’ he said. “I used to get cranky when I had to walk from one end to the other when I had forgotten something, but I’m used to it now and it’s very good in there.”
Lockwood saddles Fiery Heights in the same race as Ozark on Saturday.
“He’s probably still short a run, but he will give a good bit of cheek anyway,” he said.
■ Former trainer Ben Moore died this week aged 89.
Originally from NSW, Moore transferred to the Gold Coast in the 1970s and his best horses included the 1986 Queensland Guineas winner Persian World.
Stewart stacks up under pressure
Which Queensland jockeys have been most profitable for punters during this season?
It’s important to note profit or loss does not correlate to ability. James McDonald and Hugh Bowman rank in the top few jockeys in Australia, yet both have shown an 11 per cent loss this season on rides up to $10 in the market.
For a start, they are competing in a tougher market, but also, their popularity with punters inevitably leads to many of their mounts being “over-bet”.
So rather than trying to make a case for one jockey being better than another, what we are looking at here is a simple equation of which jockeys have given punters the best returns in Queensland racing.
The state riding premiership tells you Baylee Nothdurft is on top and Ryan Maloney has the best strike rate (among the top 20). The same two hold the same spots when the metropolitan premiership is isolated.
But what happens when you look beyond the raw numbers? When we look at jockey records on favourites and those up to $10 in the market?
The standout combining both measures is Brad Stewart.
He has a 46 per cent strike rate (34 from 74) on favourites, where you would have made 20 per cent profit on turnover backing every one of them (flat staking). It’s a long-term theme with Stewart; the last three seasons, he has a 42 per cent strike rate on favourites (108/258).
Looking beyond Stewart’s rides to include when he is on the first or second favourite, the strike rate is 37 per cent (48 from 131) and an 18 per cent profit. If we include all Stewart ridden runners up to $10 in the market, the strike rate is 27 per cent for a near 12 per cent profit.
Jim Byrne can’t match Stewart for rides up to $10 (25 per cent strike rate and 10 per cent loss), but he’s been deadly this season on fancied runners, with a 46 per cent strike rate on favourites (29 of 63).
Elyce Smith has an even healthier strike rate at 50 per cent since August 1 last year on the public elect. Nothdurft (40%/+2.5 profit) and Maloney (42%/+1.8) rank highly on this measure too, given they ride more favourites than anyone bar Robbie Fradd (40%/-9.9).
When we look further afield and include all rides up to $10 in the market, Taylor Marshall (41 per cent profit) has been a standout, as has North Queensland-based Frank Edwards, who is returning punters a 49.5 per cent profit from his 62 rides at $10 or shorter this season.