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Jockey Chris Whiteley back in the saddle

3 minute read

Gold Coast jockey Chris Whiteley will resume riding this week after four months out of the saddle with a facial injury.

Whiteley fractured a cheekbone when he fell in the last race at Mackay on February 15.

The break failed to heal and Whiteley began to fear as the weeks went by that he may not reach his target of 2000 winners over his 30-year career.

However, things finally took a turn for the better and he gained his doctor's clearance to ride on Friday.

"It was the best news I've heard for a long time," Whiteley said.

"I"m back riding track work and I'll be at Rockhampton on Friday.

"I've missed out on a lot of good rides in North Queensland so I'm anxious to get back there with the winter carnival's coming up.

"Hopefully there'll be some rides available in the coming weeks and the trainers haven't forgotten my phone number."

Meanwhile, the Ingham-based Russo brothers have unveiled another potential star galloper after a fairly lean period for the past 25 years.

The cane farming trio of Joe, Charlie and Angelo Russo of Ingham North Queensland have been in the game for decades. 

Their latest acquisition, Private Sector, made an outstanding North Queensland debut on Friday, winning first-up after a five-month break in winning a maiden over 1000 metres at Cluden Park Townsville.

Private Sector, a son of Capitalist who was sold for $130,000 at the 2020 Magic Millions Yearling sale, was formerly trained by Anthony Freedman and more recently by brother Lee on the Gold Coast.

After three runs for the Freedmans, he was sold in an online auction for the Russo's winning bid of $20,000.

They gelded him and Charlie took over training him five months ago.

However, they encountered problem after problem and transferred training duties to the up-and-coming Troy Clive at Townsville.

A few adjustments later and the connections were quietly confident he could get the chocolates.

Well-ridden by veteran Townsville hoop Frank Edwards, Private Sector raced up on the speed and raced away in the straight. 

The Russos made their mark in the north in the mid-1960s with a small team trained by Charlie on the Ingham track.

The stable star was Mr Rogers, who put together an impressive resume as a two and three year-old, before he raced in Sydney. 

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