In the winners circle Ross Vagg and Lachlan Vagg and Sixty One Tigers with winning jockey Wanderson D'avilia.
In the winners circle Ross Vagg and Lachlan Vagg and Sixty One Tigers with winning jockey Wanderson D'avilia.

Central Highlands jockey clinches $85K main race win

CENTRAL Highlands Riverview based grazier and soon to be Emerald based school teacher, along with jockey Elyce Smith, made it a day to remember with a 10 out of 10 ride on Shiranda for John Manzelmann to snatch the $85,000 Townsville Cup (2000m) on August 14.

Rewind 12 months Shiranda took out the Middlemount Cup for Mackay-based trainer Manzelmann with Clermont apprentice Emma Bell on-board.

The five-year-old gelding has accumulated more than $165,000 in prize money, eight wins and several feature race placings including this years Rockhampton and Mackay cup.

After joining the Manzelmann stable, Shiranda once part of the all conquering Darren Weir stable in regional Victoria, joined the Manzelmann stable in December 2018.

After being pushed wide in running, Smith didn’t panic and got the Manzelmann runner into a nice spot up on the pace ready to challenge.

Elyce Smith and Jade Doolan for team Manzelmann.
Elyce Smith and Jade Doolan for team Manzelmann.

Turning for home, Shiranda and Smith knuckled down hard and fought off the swoopers the whole way up the straight lifting every last drop of fight from Shiranda to hold on in a blanket finish landing the holy grail in North Queensland racing.

Shiranda ($7.50) had a nose to spare over the runner-up Tunero ($21) with Kuttamurra Al ($13) another half length back third.

Smith’s victory continues an amazing run.

She has been a dominate performer in Central Queensland with a clean sweep of several premierships and the famous magnificent six at an Emerald meeting in April where she rode an astonishing six winners on the program with online bookmakers reporting big losses on the meeting.


Old deadly left Mount Isa tab agencies dead empty in the Cleveland bay run after the Townsville cup with last years country horse of the year Deadly Choices.

Trained by Tony Comerford, he gave his rivals wind blast in the $65,000 Cleveland Bay Handicap over 1300 metres at Cluden Park.

In February this year, Deadly Choices was named country horse of the year at the country awards night held in Emerald.

Deadly Choices took it to another level taking out the time honoured North Queensland sprint with Nathan Day in the saddle.

Favourite Langhro finished in second place and Elyce Smith featuring in the business end of the feature races on the program on John Manzelmann’s Drumbeats Choice running a slashing third placing.

Deadly Choices, owned from Mount Isa and formerly trained by Damien Finter, was very popular with local punters in Mount Isa with Tab agencies paying out heavily after $18 was bet throughout betting leading up to the race.


The Vagg family from Bluff ventured on 1000 kilometre round trip to Charters Towers last weekend with the agony of a blown tyre and an injured horse (Tyrannize) who had to be scratched.

The family struck rewards for the day of early agony and then a flurry of ecstasy with sixty one tigers who took out one of the two benchmark 45 handicaps over 1000 metres on the program with Wanderson D’avilia in the saddle at the juicy odds of ($9.00).

The Bluff train driving family juggle their passion for racing with shift work and have a loyal syndicate of friends who race horses in the Bluff stable.