Clermont apprentice Emma Bell.
Clermont apprentice Emma Bell.

Late starter named best country apprentice

CLERMONT apprentice Emma Bell rubbed shoulders with the who’s who of racing on the September 22 at the Queensland racing awards night which was hosted at the Sofitel in Brisbane. Bell was announced from a state wide pool of apprentice jockeys as the Queensland country apprentice of the year. Bell only started race riding in 2017 as a mature age apprentice and indentured to her mother Jenny Bell in Clermont. Prior to race riding Bell completed a bachelor of human movement and occupational health and safety at university and worked as a mining safety professional at several coal mines in the Bowen Basin. Her father Bill Bell and Aunty Glenda were dominant jockeys for many years in the Central Highlands. Her prowess was beamed Australia wide on Sky 1 when she teamed up with Blackall trainer Dennis O’Brien to take out Longreach race clubs debut. Bell rode Barberance $4.60 to victory in the first race on Longreach Cup Day the benchmark 55 handicap over 1600 metres.

Todd Austin dominated the meeting taking out the feature sprint with Fully Maxed and the Longreach cup with Birdsville cup winner French Hussler in turn booking Austin a trip to the $105000 country cups final on November 30 in Brisbane.

The atmosphere was electric for the annual two day Twin Hills races held last weekend after a two year hiatus. A massive crowd was on hand with over 2000 patrons camping, getting down and dirty in the dust to witness the medley of country racing, rodeo and campdrafting that is served up on an annual basis.

Twin Hills Race Club secretary Jasmin Scharf said numbers in attendance were close to record numbers. Scharf said it had been a tough time of late for a lot of people due to the near drought like conditions in the area especially so expected numbers might drop a little but they turned out in their droves in near record numbers.

The weekend proved to be a big one for Mark Barnham who rode four winners from 10 rides and took out the leading jockey award. John Manzelmann took out the leading trainer award saddling up three winners.

Glenda Bell’s veteran galloper Clappers took out the 1100 metre open handicap. . The Bell trained gelding was sent out a well tried $1.80 favourite and ran away strongly to the line like a good thing should making it two in a row for the Bell stable. One of the other highlights from Friday’s meeting was from Adrian Coomes win taking out the Twin Hills bracelet with Hazar $3.00 ridden by Richie Oakford. Hazar made it two wins in a row for his Emerald owner Jason Clark who landed some solid bets with Hazar running away with the bracelet. Clark diverted from his Friday night schedule and stayed on course and then on to the rodeo to celebrate hazards big win.

Rockhampton trainer Kevin Miller and jockey Mark Barnham teamed up to take out the richest race for the carnival the $16950 QTIS benchmark 50 handicap over 1100 metres in a boilover with Isis Jectile $8.00 scoring an upset win over the well backed Clinton Taylor trained Tedder $2.60 in a tight finish. Kevin Miller also combined with Barnham on Saturday to score with Absolute Bonza who made it three in a row taking out 800 metre benchmark 65 handicap sitting uncharacteristically off the pace and knuckling down late and charging through the dust to grab John Manzelmann’s District the $1.60 favourite in the shadows of the post.

Manzelmann broke through in the next race with Bush beat rocket $9.00 with Richie Oakford in the saddle in the rich QTIS maiden over 1200 metres.

The main event the 1300 metre Twin Hills Cup was taken out by John Manzelmann the king of Twin Hills with his tough as teak mare Sensation Ally ($2.00) and ridden by visiting Nanango jockey Hannah English. A big roar went through the crowd as the Manzelmann trained favourite in the cup ran to the line strongly holding off Winsomemore ($3.00) in second place.

Dan and Rae Fletchers super filly Sunlight ran a very brave third placing at Mooney Valley last Friday night in the 1 million dollar Moir Stakes. Sunlight only finished a small margin away from the winner Nature strip. The Fletcher owned filly is well and truly on target to give the 14 million dollar Everest on October 19 and Royal Randwick a real shake.

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