Ipswich Cup 2015 at Ipswich Turf Club. Races. Race 4 winner no.3 Rock Royalty, jockey: Damian Browne, trainer: Liam Birchley. Pic of winning owners. Photo: Kate Czerny / The Queensland Times
Ipswich Cup 2015 at Ipswich Turf Club. Races. Race 4 winner no.3 Rock Royalty, jockey: Damian Browne, trainer: Liam Birchley. Pic of winning owners. Photo: Kate Czerny / The Queensland Times Kate Czerny

Jets propelled 'Rock Royalty' stars on Ipswich Cup day

THE Ipswich Jets had one of their biggest wins of the season on their bye week in the Intrust Super Cup.

Sounds impossible, right?

It does, but Rock Royalty made it all possible at the Ipswich Cup on Saturday in the 1100m Ray White Ipswich Dash Plate.

The winning owners included Jets co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker and Jets star centre Chris Walker who shared in the $41,600 first prize after jockey Damian Browne rode the perfect race.

At odds of 10-1, the Liam Birchley-trained Rock Royalty kept 2-1 favourite Hidden Pearl at bay to make the Walkers and a lot of Ipswich Jets players very happy.

By name, Hidden Pearl will remind league fans of the lightning fast Steve 'The Pearl' Renouf, although there is nothing hidden about its talents.

Shane Walker was just glad the favourite did not prevail.

"Thank God it wasn't 'hidden' and that we went past it," Walker grinned.

"It was good. We had the bye. A lot of the Jets boys were there… and a lot of them got on Rock Royalty as well."

Shane was one of them, although he won't be retiring from coaching any time soon.

"I had something decent on it, but it is never enough after they win is it?"

QT photographer Kate Czerny snapped Laidley cricket captain and part-owner Chris Wilson going ballistic as Rock Royalty rocked his world.

"My phone went into meltdown when he went over the line," Wilson told the QT.

"Five minutes after the race I had 12 text messages and six missed calls. A fair few blokes had a few dollars on him, which was good to see.

"We got him at a bargain price and he had a few dramas early on with a leg injury, but since then he has been going from strength to strength with every prep.

"We were pretty confident, but with Hidden Pearl a short priced favourite we were pumped to get the win."

Walker can spin a good yarn and he was in form when telling the QT of Rock Royalty's history.

"We have been mates with Liam Birchley and his track work jockey Alan Russell for years," Walker said.

"We said to Liam a while ago, 'Can you keep your eye out for a good cheap horse?' He is a very good judge.

"The requirements were that we wanted a maidener, something that hadn't won a race but that'd had a start.

"Liam trained the horse for a finance manager of Leighton's who was caught embezzling $20 million.

"All his horses had to go to the dispersal sale because they had to be sold. Liam said, 'Look, I trained the horse. If you are prepared to be patient I think it will go pretty good'.

"I went to the sales and we bought it for $6000….and we've had a heap of luck since."

Rock Royalty has been kind to all those associated with him so far.

Two starts back Travis Wolfgram rode Rock Royalty to victory at Doomben.

"After that race Gai Waterhouse offered for him to go down to her stables," Walker said.

"We call it 'the people's champ' and we have plenty of friends and family that follow it.

"Liam had earmarked Ipswich Cup day from months ago. He just said we had to be patient.

"We had Damian Browne aboard and he is our state's top jockey, so we were afforded a great run.

"It sat fourth on the fence, peeled out around the leaders….and away it went."



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