Nev on mend as top Rocky Cup field gathers


Caption: Rockhampton club president Nev Jackson … on the road to recovery (Photo courtesy Mackay Daily Mercury)


LONG-SERVING Rockhampton club president Nev Jackson is hoping to be fit and back on his feet in time for the $37,500 Group 3 Rockhampton Cup (510m) in late April.

\”I may not be mobile enough for the official duties but I hope to be trackside,\” Jackson said.

He\’s in the process of recovering from hip replacement surgery.

The past month has been a painful and testing time for the man who has guided the club so successfully during the last 10 years.

Jackson, who lives in Mackay, originally had the procedure done on his left hip in 2009, but \’it wore out and needed to be replaced\’.

In late February, he had a second operation and was home within two days.

However, he was back in hospital the next day with chest pains, coughing and shortness of breath.

\”They thought I may have developed clots but all the tests proved negative, except I had developed a chest infection and after treatment I was discharged,\” he said.

Then two days later Nev dislocated his \’new\’ hip in a mishap at home that saw him back in hospital.

He underwent a procedure to correct the problem and is now on the road to recovery.

\”It\’s been very uncomfortable,\” Jackson said, \”but I hope to be back on board for our Cup night.  Although I don\’t expect to be able to do what I was doing previously.\”

With the help of his wife Norma, daughter Michelle Brider and grandson Peter Payne, Jackson is maintaining his racing team.

\”Michelle and Peter are taking the dogs down to Rocky on race nights,\” he said.

Jackson said it was unlikely he\’d have a runner in the Cup this year.

\”Unfortunately not at this stage,\” he said.

The big Rocky Cup Carnival kicks off on Wednesday night, April 14, with the Colleen Jackson Memorial (510m) and heats of the Dinky Di Web Design for fourth and fifth graders  before switching to Friday night, April 23, for heats of the Cup and then the Final on Friday, April 30.

Club officials are expecting a large influx of Brisbane-trained dogs for the carnival, while leading Townsville trainer Rhonda Essery is certain to have her star chaser Stratford primed for the series after his strong win in the Rocky Young Guns (510m) last month.

Having his first run on the Callaghan Park track, Stratford – a hot $1.60 favourite – pushed his latest winning run to seven with a powerful victory over Dallas Beckett\’s smart sprinter Craig\’s Regret ($2.60).

The winning margin was a length with Bill Boon\’s promising youngster Reservation ($21) third.

Essery said she was now going ahead with plans to run Stratford in the big Rockhampton feature.

\”That (Young Guns) was his first time on the track and he\’s only going to improve on the run,\” she said. \”He has a strong run home and I\’m feeling fairly confident about his chances.

\”We\’ll just work on keeping his fitness up.\”

Park Ridge (south-east Qld)-based trainer Tom Tzouvelis made a hit-and-run visit to Rocky  last month landing a quinella  with  promising sprinter  Mitchell Street and kennelmate Zekel Bale and the pair are likely to return for the Cup, while Peter O\’Reilly is another Brisbane regional  trainer expected to make the trip north.

O\’Reilly won last year\’s Cup with Shakey Diesel .

Rocky official and top owner-trainer Dallas Beckett said Central Queensland would also have a strong representation in the series.

Beckett himself should have several representatives headed by smart chaser Craig\’s Regret.

Leading trainer Darren Taylor is giving his grand sprinter Are Jay Lochie \’one last dig\’ at the Cup.

\”He missed last year\’s series with a hip support problem and hasn\’t raced since the Country Cup final at Albion Park in early February,\” Taylor said.

\”He hurt himself in the Brisbane run and I decided to give him a good break.

\”He had a tough back-end to 2020 with injury and racing at Rocky and Albion Park.

\”I\’m hoping he can put in one last dig at the Cup, but it comes down to him. He\’s got attitude and he wants to be racing.\”

With or without Lochie, Team Taylor should have a strong Cup representation with My Bro Beach, Barcia Bullet and Over Time \’all going well\’.

\”I may have a couple more and Off Break could be a bit of a smoky,\” Taylor said.

Off Break was an impressive second to High Torque over 520m at Albion Park early last month.



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