John Stephens aboard Direct Debit making their way to the barriers before winning narrowly carrying 64.5kg.
John Stephens aboard Direct Debit making their way to the barriers before winning narrowly carrying 64.5kg. Mike Richards

Trainer happy to weight for win at Ferguson Park

THANGOOL trainer Jeff Rideout is familiar with the racing axiom that "weight stops trains" but he was confident that it would not prevent Direct Debit from winning at Gladstone races on Saturday.

Rideout was proved to be spot on as the Lion Heart (USA) old stager ground down Liberty Tycoon to win the BM 70 Handicap (1000m) by a neck.

Four of the six starters carried colossal weights, no more than Rockhampton Cup bound Slim Henry which humped 69.5kg and made up many lengths before finishing a distant last.

While Slim Henry struggled under his impost, Rideout's Direct Debit had the muscle to get to the post.

"I knew the 64.5kg wouldn't bother him at all as I ride him his work around the paddock at home and with the saddle included he carries 92kg," Rideout said.

"That's why I was confident."

Rideout also reasoned that Direct Debit was back to his best, revealing "he had dappled up on his rump".

Whereas pedigrees are of paramount importance with thoroughbreds, it's always a huge advantage if those who work with them come from a racing lineage.

In this instance Rideout is well stamped.

His pedigree is steeped in racing history as his late father Arnie Rideout was a fine horseman and racing administrator in Central Queensland.

Therein lays a tale that Rideout revealed at Gladstone on Saturday.

"The family horse way back in the 80s was the very good sprinter Sir Arnold," he said.

"He won heaps of races with well over 60kg and I remember him winning back at Thangool on April 8, 1989 with 71kg.

"I went back through the old records this week and I found it."

On that occasion Sir Arnold was ridden by the late Ross Shearer who won an amazing 17 races on the El Furie-Proven Glance gelding.

Proving Rideout's theory that horses can carry "weight", family favourite Sir Arnold, during a career spanning 53 starts, carried 60kg or more on 15 occasions and won eight of those races.

Sir Arnold bowed out of racing a winner for the trainer- jockey combination of Tracey and Ross Shearer at Thangool on Match 30, 1991 in an Open (1200m) with 63.5kg.

While Rideout admitted Direct Debit is no Sir Arnold, he also knows he has a very handy horse in his care.

Direct Debit has seven race wins included among 17 windfalls for the trainer and co-owner Mark Ghea from the 27 starts they have given him.

"Mark and I are diesel fitters in the Callide Mine. How lucky is Mark though as Direct Debit is the first horse he has owned," Rideout said.

While adept to grass track racing as much as sand, Direct Debit is a toff on the latter. From six starts at Gladstone he has won four times while never missing a place.

"I am thinking about taking him (Direct Debit) to Roma next week as there is a race for him there," Rideout said.

Direct Debit is expected to race on the Roma sandy-loam in a $17,000 Open (1200m) on Saturday, March 15.

Race results:

Race 1: 1st- Rytarga, 2nd- Fletch, 3rd- Outback Fighter, 4th- Southside

Race 2: 1st- Direct Debit, 2nd- Liberty Tycoon, 3rd- Otango, 4th- Bonny The Viper

Race 3: 1st- Me Fast Too, 2nd- Rio Vista, 3rd- Al's Mah Daddy, 4th- Red Eric

Race 4: 1st- Edgeroi Hope, 2nd- Top Button, 3rd- Pattaya, 4th- Craiglea Miracle


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