ANOTHER rain-affected track at Ipswich failed to stop jockeys Jim Byrne and Timothy Bell narrowing the Jockey's Premiership lead held by Michael Cahill.

Globetrotting Cahill has never won an Ipswich Premiership and will probably never get a better chance to do that than in the current season.

With just three meetings left in the season, Cahill remains in the position atop the table that he has held for most of the year. But a suspension meant Cahill could not ride at Ipswich on Friday.

Second-placed Bell and third-placed Byrne took advantage of his absence in picking up a win each.

Bell won aboard Obliviate for Toowoomba trainer Rex Lipp in the second race to win number 22 for the season.

In the last race, Byrne won aboard Settheworldonfire for Beaudesert trainer Laurie Richardson to collect his 21st win for the season.

These wins put these two top jockeys within striking range of Cahill who has 28 wins.

However, Cahill's suspension finishes today meaning that he would be odds-on to retain his lead in the premiership race.


Omen bet of year

AT the Ipswich Knights' function trackside on Friday, there was an omen bet in the fourth race that half of the crew in attendance had a win on.

The race was the "Remembering St Helens Handicap" and the St Helen's old boys searched for a jockey wearing the old St Helen's colours of green and white.

At first it appeared there was no set of silks with those colours until it was revealed that the connections of Badboycurtis had forgotten to bring their silks.

This meant the club colours had to be worn by apprentice jockey Anthony Allen, and the club colours are green and white.

St Helens old boys, including Allan "Bluey" Roberts, Kenny Auld and Ian Broadbent, were quick to wager that the green and white colours would win despite Badboycurtis presenting for his 19th race start without a previous win.

It turned out to be easy work for Badboycurtis as he annihilated the field by seven lengths to collect his first win for trainer Bob Mahon of Beaudesert.

All that was left for the St Helens Old Boys was to thank trainer Mahon for leaving his silks at home - which they did.

The Ipswich Knights began 15 years ago with a merger of St Helens and Coalstars.

The fifth race was the "Remembering Coalstars" Handicap although it was not to be a repeat of the previous race.

The runners sporting Coalstars colours of red, blue, and white finished near the tail in the race won by Caballo Rapido.


Qld Cup goes south

THE Queensland Cup over 3200 metres was contested at Eagle Farm on Saturday and Victorian galloper Turner Bayou was successful.

Trainer Patrick Payne pulled the right rein to bring this promising Zabeel four-year-old to Brisbane in preference to Flemington where the galloper was dual-accepted to race on Saturday.

Saturday's authoritative win may convince trainer Payne to give the galloper a let-up before trying his luck in some of the big Spring staying races.

It seems odd to talk about an Ipswich Class 1 winner in the same breathe as a Victorian Zabeel-sired galloper who has just won the two mile Queensland Cup. But the second placegetter on Saturday was Fifth Column who went into the Queensland Cup after a Class 1 win at Ipswich. Fifth Column is a three-year-old gelding who has raced 13 times for two wins, both at Ipswich over the 2150 metre distance.

Fifth Column had also run a strong fourth in the QT Provincial Cup on Ipswich Cup Day before his Class 1 win at Ipswich.

Oakey trainer Gerard Betros and owner Gary Turkington have a stayer who gets better the further the distance. Judging by the run on Saturday, it will not be long before Fifth Column has won at a track other than Ipswich.

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