Exciting finishes make great day
MORE than 1300 patrons ticked through the turnstiles at Middlemount on Saturday, with Donald Black and his team putting on a top day of country racing in the coal mining stronghold.
A new meaning will be brought to the term 'ring the bell' following the weekend's racing at Middlemount, that being the Bell of the Emma variety.
Her phone will be ringing off the hook with trainers quick to book her on following the gun apprentice's consistency of showing two wins and a further placing last Saturday at Rosewood Park in Middlemount.
Trainer John Manzelmann also featured prominently with a double and three placings in a successful weekend for the stable.
Town and rural folk in the area along with grey nomads and busloads of people from high-end high rollers to bush battlers and everyone in between were in attendance to witness the five-race card with plenty of entertainment.
Middlemount's rendition of the dachshund racing again did not disappoint, with the annual dachshund races attracting strong heats with an exciting finish.
Roma trainer Wayne Baker had a strong hand to play at Middlemount and got the ball rolling nice and early with last-start winner Ivy Lane making it back-to -back wins in the first event, the class B 1000m handicap, the $1.80 favourite cruising to a three-length victory in the end with Thomas Doyle in the saddle.
Bevan Johnson's locally owned Thin Disguise, raced by Middlemount Race Club vice-president Bill Gray and club stalwarts Damien and Katrina Cavanagh, did just that as the miler looked to lose touch with the nippy field early.
However it was the hot speed up front that seemed to bring about the undoing of the sprinters, with Thin Disguise, the $12 outsider, coming back under them late and taking needle-eye runs along the fence in a vintage Dakota Graham ride to claim just his second first-up win and his first win over the 1000m.
Without question the success story of the day came about in race three.
At a bargain $500 purchase price, Froze recorded a popular win at his first start for connections purchased earlier in the year by 24-year-old racing enthusiast Kobie O'Brien, who races the badly faced gelding with a healthy syndicate under the K.O. racing banner.
Among the ownership group are Bluff race caller Scott Power and Sky Thoroughbred Central's Alex Nolan to name a few, with trainers Mel and Bill Johnson also retaining a share.
All roads now lead to Birdsville for Froze as the six-year-old prepares for just his third race start and he attempts to generate more momentum as a budget- beater racing feel-good story.
The remainder of the card was trained by John Manzelmann with Baker's Dozen ($7) saluting strongly at juicy each-way odds in the Class B and Shiranda ($2.80), who contested the Group 1 Queensland derby earlier this year.
He brought strong form to Middlemount behind the likes of Townsville Cup winner The Harrovian and metro-placed Plitvice in recent starts.
He was far too strong in the AngloAmerican Middlemount Cup with the punters' pin-up gal Emma Bell in the saddle.
The win capped off a big week for Bell, who took out the 2018-19 country apprentice premiership title.
In the Paul McGuire Memorial Sausage Dog Race more than $6000 was raised for the Capricorn Rescue Helicopter.
The calcutta auctioning of the dachshunds had patrons spending up to secure a dachshund in the final, with four dachshunds topping $1000 in the bidding and eventual winner Yozi selling for $1900.
The lightly raced dachshund took out the event in a tight finish with only a whisker to spare.
The locally owned Middlemount dachshund Yozi was cheered home strongly by Shona Barber and her family.
Yozi recovered from a bad getaway and charged home along the fence, taking inside runs to grab the prize, with class shining through in the final.