Day At The Track
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Classy gelding Emain Macha, who overcame a life-threatening illness earlier in his career, continued his stellar Victorian country cups harness racing campaign by taking out the Stawell Cup on Sunday. The six-year-old, known around the stables as Fritz, was having only his fifth start for the season, but has now claimed two country cups this stint- having won the St Arnaud Cup on November 10. Emain Macha (Safari-Machabella (Mach Three) is trained by astute horseman Greg Scholefield, who a few years ago decided to concentrate on preparing his small team on a full-time basis. A builder by trade, Scholefield is based at Naracoorte, a small sheep, cattle and wheat farming town in south-east South Australia near the State border with Victoria. Emain Macha took an early lead in the Group Three $45,000 feature for in-form junior reinsman James Herbertson, of Ballarat, and narrowly got the money over short-priced race favorite Code Black (Greg Sugars). "He felt terrific in the run and Greg certainly had him cherry ripe for the assignment," Herbertson said. "When I put the foot down with 600 metres to go, the horse really hit top gear," he said. "He knocked off a bit over the final stages, but I wasn't concerned because he always does that." It's been an admirable training achievement by Scholefield to return Emain Macha to prime health and fitness. After winning the $20,000 Guineas at Mildura on April 8, 2017, in what was his 14th career victory from just 18 starts, Emain Macha contracted a virus, which put him on the sidelines for almost a year. Aside from the effects of the virus, the horse later came down with bronchitis, his weight dropped away, he developed foot swelling and there were fears for his life. Trainer and part-owner Scholefield sought the advice of local vet Tony Tully who put "Fritz" on a course of treatment and a long and arduous road to recovery began. Emain Macha resumed racing in late February the following year, winning at a Mt Gambier meeting first up. The pacer, owned by Scholefield, Gail Davis, Peter Lamond, and father-and-son John and Sean Penny, now has a total of 29 wins and 13 placings from his 50 starts, amassing $258,000 in stakes. At Stawell, Herbertson certainly didn't dawdle over the mini marathon Cup distance of 2600m with early splits of 31.4 and 29.9. He later cranked up the tempo with a strong last half of 56 secs (28.8 and 27.2) to hold off Code Black, a recent winner of the Yarra Valley Pacing Cup. "We decided before the event to go for the lead because he bowls along nicely out in front. He's a lovely horse and he's been good to me because in my three drives on him he's had two wins and a second," he said. Watch the race replay here: Herbertson last season topped the ton (102 wins) for the first time in his short career, and is off to a flying start this season, with 37 wins and 75 places, racking up an impressive 43% strike rate. He also got the chocolates at Stawell with Seemepearlywhites (Grinfromeartoear-Numismatic (Elsu). "She is a handy mare and she gives her best. The Platinum Sprint heat was a good race to win and they picked up a Vicbred bonus as well," Herbertson said. Seemepearlywhites is trained by popular Maryborough track curator-trainer Tim Mortlock. Mortlock trains only two horses but comes from a good pedigree with his late father Rob and legendary grandfather Jack Hargreaves both successful horsemen.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Everybody loves a home town hero and they don’t come much more popular than Great Western harness racing gun Kerryn Manning, who could again have Stawell trots fans in raptures this Sunday. Manning’s name could be etched on the Gateway Security Stawell Pacing Cup for a fourth time this weekend with her talented six-year-old, Ideal Success, beautifully drawn for a rollicking romp. “He is a nice horse and the Cup should suit him down to the ground,” the trainer-driver said. In 2004 Manning drove The Good Guy to victory in the Cup for trainer and father, Peter Manning, and then was both trainer and driver when Henchman won in 2006. The father-daughter team then broke through again in 2015 when they won by a neck with $17-1 shot Narra Operative. For Manning, winner of more than 3500 races as a driver and almost 800 as a trainer, any chance to step out at her local track is an occasion to be savoured. “I just like to have a runner at Stawell and to have one in the cup is just that little bit extra special.” And in Ideal Success she has a contender. The Kiwi joined her stable in February after 19 runs back home that yielded eight victories, all coming in his first nine races. In Manning’s hands the American Ideal gelding has again found that winning form, producing five victories from his eight starts on Australian soil, including the Ararat and Ouyen pacing cups. He returned from a spell at Tabcorp Park Melton on November 18 and, from a difficult second row draw, finished off well to run fourth amid a quality field. “He probably needed the run a bit and never really got into the race, but his times were about as good as anybody,” Manning said. “He didn’t get beaten all that far and he has tightened up since then.” The winner of that race was Young Modern from Emma Stewart’s all-conquering Smythes Creek stable and Ideal Success will not only have to turn the tables on him but also overcome Stewart’s other fancied runners Gumdrops and Metro Mike. Also looming are swooper Five Star Anvil and Im Corzin Terror, but Manning gives her hope every chance. “He has drawn quite well and should be able to hold a forward post,” she said. “Jiven Cullen is probably the early leader and is generally looking for a sit. I should be the first one there and should be a chance to lead depending on what they decide to do. From there (Ideal Success) should be right in it and a good chance. “I’ve won it a couple of times and it would be nice to repeat that performance, and he’s the type that could win it.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Stawell, Sunday 04 December 2016 Form guide for Stawell, Sunday 04 December 2016

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