Jockey Elyce Smith celebrates after piloting Shiranda to victory in the $85K Townsville Cup (2000m).last Friday. Picture: Evan Morgan
Jockey Elyce Smith celebrates after piloting Shiranda to victory in the $85K Townsville Cup (2000m).last Friday. Picture: Evan Morgan

Rocky jockey scores early birthday present in Townsville

HORSE RACING: Elly Smith, the “Princess of Rockhampton racing”, scored an early birthday present when Shiranda ($7.50) prevailed to win last Friday’s $85K Townsville Cup (2000m).

In a spirited finish, the John Manzelmann-trained warhorse provided her with her biggest win, scoring by a nose from Tolga’s Tunero ($21.00) with Toowoomba’s Kuttamurra Al ($13.00) a neck back third.

Elly, who has been riding since March 2017, celebrates her 23rd birthday this coming Thursday.

“It was certainly my biggest thrill in racing, wining the Townsville Cup,” Elly said.

A memorable year for mainly wrong reasons the world wide, 2020 has been gracious to Elly as on the Easter weekend race day at Emerald, she rode an amazing six winners.

A hard-working young lady, Elly mixes her race riding with teachers training, with the latter her chosen future profession.

She cannot be begrudged of anything but success as, three years ago in an horrific horse-related accident at a Thangool race meeting, Elly sustained shocking injuries and a long hospital stint and protracted rehabilitation.

Shiranda’s tenacious win in the Townsville Cup was not only a triumph for the horse itself but also his Mackay-based trainer John Manzelmann.

Just six days before his feature Townsville win, Shiranda finished 14.75 lengths away tenth over 2200m on a track rated a Soft 6 some 951km away from his Mackay base at Doomben, Brisbane.

Considering he then floated back to Mackay before another 386km road trip to Townsville for the Cup speaks volumes for his toughness.

“While I was a little bit surprised that he could win the Townsville Cup last Friday, I knew the soft track the previous Saturday at Doomben wasn’t his go,” Elly said on reflection.

However, that pales into insignificance if Shiranda’s record this preparation is put under the microscope.

Since resuming from a seven-month spell on March 17, Shiranda has raced on multiple occasions each month since, making it 17 starts last Friday.

What makes it more amazing, in the 44 days prior to and including the Townsville Cup win, Shirandra had seven starts involving just over 3800km in road float trips.

This makes Shiranda (b g 5 Bernardina (USA)-Permeate) a worthy recipient of the “iron horse” title as the natural and gifted stayer has in those seven starts clocked-up some 13,000m of racing.

Much of his sustainability can be attributed to Manzelmann’s unique style of training which involves working his horses along the beach attached to a car.

“He (Shiranda) has never been to the track for work and works from the car,” Manzelmann said.

Shiranda’s Townsville Cup win was well deserved as he had been placed third in both the Rockhampton and Mackay Cups in July.

Manzelmann has won all and multiple feature Cups in North Queensland except the Rockhampton Cup which has eluded him.

Shiranda will not be resting on his laurels as his next mission is the Cairns Cup on August 28.

Jared Wehlow’s rising staying star North Afrika scored his third successive middle distance win this campaign at the Townsville meeting and now he will head to Cairns for the Cup as well.

Fellow Rockhampton trainer Keven Hansen scored an upset Townsville win last Friday with outsider Magic Wu ($41.00).

Racing heads to Keppel Park, Yeppoon, on Saturday.


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