Queensland Oaks: Media Award can give Chris Calthorpe something to cheer about after turbulent fortnight
Chris Calthorpe boasts a Group 1 victory from his only starter in a race at the top grade and the affable trainer jokes it might be time to give the game away if he can extend his record to two with Media Award in Saturday’s Queensland Oaks.
Calthorpe has spent much of the last fortnight jumping through hoops to get other trainer’s horses to Queensland with his Air Horse Transport business, but now it’s time for his own one to shine as he saddles up the bargain filly who cost just $5000 at the sales as a yearling.
Tipping the scales at just over 400kg, Media Award could be the smallest horse at Eagle Farm on Saturday, but what she loses in size Calthorpe says she makes up in heart, pointing to her barnstorming Australasian Oaks victory in Adelaide a month ago.
The Geelong-based trainer has long transported horses around Australia but recently ran into a hurdle when Queensland Health stopped him in his tracks due to Covid-19 fears.
While he overcame the issue, he admits it was far from the ideal lead-in to the Group 1 feature for his mighty filly.
“It has just been frustrating because from where I sit, we are all ready to go and it is just that political red tape that we run into,” he said.
“The plane is there every Tuesday and the horses are booked then someone wants to move the goalposts.
“It’s something that is out of my control so we just try to do everything right and keep everyone happy.”
Trainer Chris Calthorpe with his Queensland Oaks runner Media Award at Eagle Farm. Picture: Brad FleetSource:News Corp Australia
Managing both his Geelong and Euroa stables along with his transport business, Calthorpe admits he has been pressed for time of late, but he has never let it get in the way of Media Award’s preparation.
She is currently a $9 chance with TAB.
“For such a dumb-ass, I seem to manage my time pretty well between both, there are good systems in place,” he laughed.
“I seem to manage my time pretty well. I do the horses first thing in the morning, then I have all day to work on the flights.
“Every now and again it all falls in place and you can go and sit on the couch and relax for a few hours. I would rather keep busy than sit around doing nothing.”
Media Award was Calthorpe’s first Group 1 runner and she will also be his second when she lines up against what he says is an “even bunch of fillies.”
“She has proven she is up to this standard, she has one a Group 1 and they can’t take that off her,” he said.
“It was a pretty handy field in Adelaide because she beat a VRC Oaks winner (Personal).
“After she won at Adelaide, she pulled up so well when we got home and being a month between runs I said to the boys that own her ‘she’s only three once so as long as she keeps doing everything right, we will head to Queensland’.”
Chris Calthorpe leads Media Award out of her box at Eagle Farm. Picture: Brad FleetSource:News Corp Australia
Arriving in Queensland last Tuesday, Calthorpe managed to beat Queensland’s hard border closure to Victoria, allowing him to prepare Media Award as she normally would be prepared from Eagle Farm.
Fellow Victorian John Allen scrapped a book of rides at Hamilton on Sunday to stay in Queensland to ride Media Award after running third on Explosive Jack in the Queensland Derby on Saturday.
He was on hand to gallop her on Tuesday morning, with Calthorpe saying he gave the seal of approval.
“She had a gallop on Tuesday morning and Johnny Allen sat on her, he was happy,” he said. “We are here now and what is done is done.”
“Adelaide was the focus with her, she went there and I thought she would be competitive because I think she is untapped.”
Originally published asAward provides Calthorpe relief from turbulence
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