FINE RIDE: Winning jockey Julien Kokotajlo guides Phantom Whisper back to the enclosure after last Friday’s success at Ipswich racetrack.
FINE RIDE: Winning jockey Julien Kokotajlo guides Phantom Whisper back to the enclosure after last Friday’s success at Ipswich racetrack. David Nielsen

Kokotajlo off to a winning start at Ipswich and Coast

THE race meeting at Ipswich last Friday was the first for the season anywhere in Queensland as it was run on August 1.

That's the official horse birthday in the southern hemisphere, and the start of a new season.

One jockey who began the new season with a win was Julien Kokotajlo aboard Phantom Whisper.

This was only the fifth win for Kokotajlo in his Australian career since September, 2013.

After winning at his only ride at Ipswich for the day, Kokotajlo rode a double of wins at the Gold Coast on Saturday from only three rides.

Another jockey to kick the new season off well was apprentice Sairyn Fawke who rode a rare double at his only two rides for the day.

Fawke's winners were Torero, for trainer John Morrisey, and Cash In (for Paul Butterworth) in the last race of the day.

The two kilogram claiming apprentice Fawke also had a win with Phoenix Force at the Gold Coast on Saturday and Music of Life at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday to kick off the season in great fashion.


Winning form

JIM Byrne was crowned premier jockey for the past season last Friday.

Ipswich Turf Club deputy chairman Brian North presented the five-time Ipswich winner with his trophy.

As well as five premierships at Ipswich, Byrne has won three apprentice premierships and three Ipswich Cups to become one of the most successful jockeys at the historic Bundamba facility.

After the presentation, the senior jockey picked up his first win for the new season aboard Tartan Warrior, for trainer Bryan Guy.

Guy was one of the eight individual winning trainers last Friday. Gold Coast-based Guy has collected two Ipswich Trainers Premierships in recent times and would be hoping this winner is the start of another successful season.

Premier trainer Gillian Heinrich was absent last Friday due to a holiday in Germany.

Last season's premier apprentice Cassandra Schmidt was also away.

Her only ride for the day was a morning scratching, giving no need for the trip to Ipswich.


Trainers favour Ipswich

SOUTH East Queensland trainers continue to show willingness to race their horses at Ipswich despite the impact of a cold July on the track.

A number of frosts throughout July kept the ground staff busy aiming to maintain the grass coverage after the replanting of the track earlier in the year.

The Ipswich grounds crew has worked hard to keep the course proper in suitable condition for mid-winter racing.

The strongest sign of the good condition of the race track is the number of nominating trainers.

More than 100 nominations are regularly being received for Ipswich meetings. This week there are 110 early nominations.

Last Friday, winners came from all around as Brisbane trainers Tina Cotsiopolous, Jason Edwards and Paul Butterworth won with Pound the Pavement, Phantom Whisper and Cash In respectively.

Toowoomba visitor Ben Ahrens won with Dame Destiny.

The remaining four winners came from the Gold Coast.

Toby Edmonds won with Life at Sea, Patrick Bussutin with Don't Tell Cyril, John Morrisey with Torero, and Bryan Guy with Tartan Warrior ensured half of the card was won by Gold Coast visitors.

Expect more interest from visiting trainers when Ipswich takes over the bulk of the metropolitan Wednesdays starting on August 27.

The additional attraction is that races on these days attract the metropolitan prize money levels of $17,000 per race, significantly more than the current $10,000 per race for Ipswich Friday meetings.

Additionally, there are a number of feature southern events which are contested on Wednesdays on which Ipswich is racing.

These include the Newcastle Cameron Handicap on September 17, the Caulfield Ladies Day Vase (October 15), the Geelong Cup (October 22), and the Bendigo Cup (October 29).

Group Spring lead-up racing starts this weekend in three states although the first Group 1 is not until the Memsie Stakes on August 30 at Caulfield.

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