MACKAY-based trainer John Manzelmann has won virtually every major race in Central Queensland and last Saturday at Pioneer Park he was the centre of attention when he added the 2011 Emerald 100 Cup to his brimming trophy cabinet.
In the fastest Emerald 100 run since the distance of the event was changed to 1850m in 2008, the Manzelmann-trained Bawaardi went straight to the front and led all the way. Jockey Trinity Bannon allowed the $3.30 favourite to set a cracking pace mid-race and then dug deep to stall off the challengers over the closing stages. Apart from the winner, Manzelmann had two other runners in the event. Preacher Man ($7) finished second and Rocket On By ($9) was fourth. Splitting the pair was the David Munns trained Dashing Doll ($8) who ran the race of her life to claim third. Barcaldine trainer Todd Austin was out of luck with Playtime at Eagle Farm but his wife Toni was all smiles after the win of Stars are Born ($12) in the 1000m Maiden Plate. The Austin stable also saddled up the $2.25 favourite Just Ready but Stars are Born finished too well to get jockey Scott McCallum's day off to a great start. Splitting the Austin pair was Kidancho's Delight ($7).
The Ross Meek-trained Exalted Mollie ($10) was able to camp on the hot speed up front and finish over the top of her rivals in the 1000m Class 3 Plate. Meek also saddled up Dumuzi, one of the $3.50 equal favourites, but as with the previous event it was the lesser fancied runner that stole the limelight.
The finish of the 1200m Open handicap was shrouded in controversy when the $2.80 favourite Reigning To Win was grabbed right on the line by Albert's Image ($5.50). In the closest finish of the day the judge had to go for the camera to split the two, with Sea Dynasty ($5) finishing third. Reining to Win has amassed over $810,000 in prizemoney and is a Group 1 winner. He hit the front at the 50m mark but didn't finish the race off as expected and Albert's Image was able to get up on his inside to nose him out. Racing Queensland Stipendiary stewards opened an inquiry into the incident which was subsequently adjourned.
The old adage of horses for courses was never more evident than when the Andrew Johnson trained Jamdit ($6) finished powerfully to leave the leaders in his wake in the 1300m Class B Handicap to make it two wins and a third from three Pioneer Park starts. Early leader Profanity ($7) stuck on well for third but the run of the race apart from the winner came from the Manzelmann trained Sarbi ($4.70). He got caught in a traffic jam early in the straight before weaving a passage through the field and storming into second place and will be in the winner's list shortly.
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