By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au
A WINNING double to former Gladstone jockey Lucy Timson was the highlight of the first local race meeting for 2005 at Ferguson Park on Saturday.
Timson started the five-race meeting well with an upset win on roughie Run Like Blazes in the first race of the day (1000 metres maiden) before backing up to win on another unfancied runner Dreams of Wealth in the feature race of the day.
Dreams of Wealth's lead-up form had been ordinary to say the least and was given little chance against last start Ferguson Park winner Bosun's Piper, top-weight Craiglea Ego and track specialists Mister Po and Leica Kaaptive.
Timson rode Dreams of Wealth with great control after a strong start before charging home down the straight in impressive fashion to collect a seventh career victory from 44 starts by two-and-a-half lengths.
Favourite Craiglea Ego drove home from the rear of the field to get second just ahead of outsider Spiritual Man who is a horse to watch in the future.
It was a good result for the bookies, who were celebrating from earlier in the day after the upset victories from Timson's first winner Run Like Blazes who held out Let's Play Snap and rank outsider King Hal (race two) who paid $16 for the win.
In the Class Five Handicap, the top two chances Exemplify and In Cobargo were well backed on course and expected to battle out proceedings.
One horse they didn't count on was the Allan Jenkinson-trained King Hal who bolted to the front shortly after the start and was never headed over the 1194 metres for jockey Dennis Whitmore.
The experienced Whitmore showed brilliant instincts to drive King Hal to the line ahead of a fast finishing Let's Reconsider who continued his recent return to form, while In Cobargo had every chance and boxed on for third.
Saturday's meeting will also live long in the memory of 16-year-old Rockhampton apprentice Chris McIver who had a smile as big as Luna Park after he piloted Crocodile Smile to a convincing four and a quarter length win in the 850 metre Class B handicap.
It was McIver's maiden career victory and he looks to be another of Central Queensland's rising young jockey's.
While Bundaberg galloper Buck's Pearl justified his short quote as the hottest favourite of the day and helped a few punters out with a strong victory in the final race of the card, a Class Three over 1000 metres.
Jumping at 1.70 with apprentice Mandy Radecker in the saddle, Buck's Pearl backed up his strong credential's including a sixth last start at Eagle Farm to collect his fourth career win in a sensational time of 59.82, just 0.32 seconds outside the course record.
Crocodile Smile backed up from his earlier victory to finish second a length back, while Craiglea Helle worked hard for third. It was another positive day for the Gladstone Turf Club with a good crowd turnout which added to another great day of racing.
The club's next meeting is on February 12.