By Richard Turnbull
The Clermont Spring carnival races went off with a bang with a huge crowd on hand for the last race meeting of 2017.
The day was another big success for the club with close to 800 people flocking through the gates to support the meeting.
Secretary Wayne Sharik was more than pleased with the day and indicated racing in Clermont in 2018 will be back bigger and better in 2018.
The Miles magician, premier country Queensland trainer Bevan Johnson combined with his stable jockey Rob Faehr to take out the first race on the program, the 1000 metre CFMEU class B handicap with Solartek ($2.80) in a tough gritty win.
Solartek is part owned by Middlemount Race Club President Donald Black and Middlemount Race Club Stalwart Carole Gray.
The bonny mare looks set for more wins over the summer period.
Mark Barnham stole the show in the jockey ranks riding a double including the rich $13000 QTIS maiden handicap over 1000 metres.
He combined with leading Rockhampton trainer Jamie McConachy's runner Del Diavolo, with the pair making the 780km round trip from Rockhampton to saddle up the full brother to the well performed Helarocity, who McConachy trained as a juvenile to win the 2013 breeders plate in Rockhampton.
Del Diavolo was sent out a raging $1.50 favourite after impressive jump outs at Callaghan Park and didn't let down the punters who took the short odds, as the gelding charged to the line for an impressive win.
Barnham then combined with Barcaldine trainer Brendan Richardson with One Grey ($2.50) to take out the the Benchmark 60 handicap in dominant fashion.
Richardson took honours in the trainers ranks with a double. He first took out the Class 4 Handicap over 1200 metres with Chatara ($7.00), which held off the challenge of the Ilfracombe0trained galloper Spursyn ($8.00).
The main event, the Lund Grain and Stockfeed Clermont Country Plate over 1400m, was taken out by John Manzelmann. He saved his best for last, saddling up the quinella in the feature event with winner Far North ($3.50) guided by apprentice jockey Emma Bell streaking away for a dominant win.
Gingersnap ($2.20) battled home gamely for second placing. The win topped off a big seven days for the Manzelmann stable - which included a haul of 9 winners and 17 placings and over 4000 kilometres travelling supporting country and provincial racing at 5 different venues.