By Glenn Davis
Fresh from claiming the Townsville Cup last week, champion Mackay trainer John Manzelmann has another big prize he hopes to land at Mackay on Tuesday.
Manzelmann has been one of the State’s leading country trainers for several years and won his fourth Townsville Cup last Friday with Shiranda.
Shiranda’s win in the 2000-metre feature was also a milestone for star central Queensland apprentice Elyce Smith, who became only the third female jockey to win the Townsville Cup.
Tuesday’s Mackay meeting will be a low-key affair for Manzelmann, who has 12 starters and one emergency on the eight-event program.
However, there is one race Manzelmann would love to win and that’s the final event of the day, named in honour of his father "Ginger" Manzelmann, who turns 80 today.
Manzelmann will have only one runner – Elle A Walking - in the Happy 80th Birthday Ginger Manzelmann Benchmark 65 Handicap over 1800 metres.
Ginger Manzelmann is a well-known former harness racing trainer in Queensland but unlike his son, never turned his hand to training thoroughbreds despite owning many top gallopers.
“I’d love to win this race for Dad and it would be a big honour,” Manzelmann said.
“He’s got a big weight again and hasn’t drawn well but he’ll be competitive.”
Elle A Walking was allotted topweight of 62.5kgs and is coming off a last start third to stablemate Don’t Doubt Lara over 1560 metres at Mackay last month.
The eight-year-old was ridden by Dakota Graham last start but stable apprentice Marnu Potgieter takes over for the gelding’s assignment with a three-kilogram claim.
Meanwhile, Manzelmann will have three runners – Raiden, Crafty Cop and District - in the Open Handicap (1050m).
Raiden has only been in Manzelmann’s care for one start when the gelding finished third to Exceedingly Kool over 1000 metres at Home Hill on August 8.
“He was a bit unlucky that day for my apprentice and he’ll ride him again,” he said.
“I’ve also got Crafty Cup going around but he’s seen better days and District is a chance after his good run in Brisbane.
"Of the three, Raiden is my best chance.”
District has had only three starts for Manzelmann since transferring from Townsville trainer Ricky Ludwig.
The seven-year-old son of Lonhro is back on his home track after a fast finishing third to Aheadofhistime at Doomben on August 8.