Denis Smith is a 70-year-old harness racing devotee who has been a licensed trainer/driver for 45 years. He is a highly respected industry figure and has written a weekly column in the Ipswich daily newspaper, The Queensland Times, for cumulatively 18 years across two different stints. He has been on the Marburg committee all up for 10 years and is a former committeeman at the Ipswich Harness Racing Club (five years) and the Ipswich Harness Association Inc also for five years. He’s also served on the BOTRA committee for eight years and the QSTA for 15 years. Denis rates the best horses he has trained as “a toss-up between Sunsett (23 wins), Sombrero (25 wins) and Fox Valley Appeal (7 wins, including 5 at Albion Park in free-for-all company).
Denis has agreed to the regular reproduction of his column on the Forum I'm sure members interested in trotting will enjoy reading his views.
A couple and their horse. A bit of human interest in how we view our equine friends. Scottish apparel and accoutrement vendor Doug Manger and his wife Karen had good success with the tiny pacer, Enrique Of Malacca, firstly from the home barn and later in professional circumstances. Things were travelling well until a significant and chronic lameness set in. On returning home to the Manger stable, the cards were firmly on the table. $5,000 to remove a bone chip, or a more final solution. To Karen Manger, the problem was easily surmounted. Surgery was the only option and the chip was duly removed. KM walked the convalescent daily for two months, and commenced a careful jogging program last October. In all, the rehab and race preparation took a full five months. On resuming, Enrique Of Malacca was blocked for a run when it counted, was a promising fifth at his next start and ran a solid third while pulling a flat tyre at his third appearance.
Work commitments then caused EOM to be transferred up the road to Glenn Dawson. Two starts for camp Dawson have resulted in a fast finishing second after getting out late, followed by a feature MO victory. It will only get better. It's the old story. Where there's life, there's hope!!
Former Marburg resident, Steven Doherty, is about to take the adventure trip of a lifetime. That is, of course, if you are a farrier who specialises in pacers and trotters and a trainer/driver to boot. Providing that working visa requirements can be satisfied at the German Consulate in Sydney next Thursday, Steven will jet out on April 21, bound for Dusseldorf and the stables of top trainer Henk Grift. Grift,a Dutchman by birth, was looking for a full time farrier for his team which currently stands at 68. HG mainly campaigns in Germany, his native Holland and, to a large extent in France, where the class of racing is considered to be as good as it gets. How did the 28 year old Steven score a plum like this. The chain starts with an enquiry directed at former Redcliffe then Canadian and now Menangle based trainer/driver Darren McCall. DM's partner, Karina was next consulted and was able to call on a long time friendship with Klaus Koch, undoubtedly the best known and most influential figure in Northern Hemisphere trotting. The rest, as they say, is history. One of the best features of the deal is that the visa will allow Steven Doherty to travel around Europe fairly freely. He will come back with a swag of knowledge in the field of shoeing trotters gathered from his European and Scandanavian counterparts who have 150 years of practical experience in this field. It is a dream about to come true with a sound future at the end.
The latest update from Perth shows that Lauren Jones has made it in colour into the trotting segment of the West Australian newspaper. Trotting writer, Ernie Manning, quoted Jones's new boss Gary Hall Snr as saying that LJ impressed him with her dedication to stable tasks and routine and had no hesitation in booking her for former Sydneysider Passion Stride in the Ray Duffy Memorial at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Fourth place was the final result but LJ was back in the winner's circle with Vapour on Tuesday night at Headquarters. Lauren Jones says she is there to stay, and, on disclosed form so far it's a sound choice. We are often told that print media is a dying form of communication. An exercise conducted in this paper perhaps 20 years ago indicated that square centimetres of space allotted to the three codes of animal racing closely approximated the percentage of TAB turnover attracted by each code. Worth thinking about perhaps. Obviously they think it justifies the effort in WA.
As usual, there were mixed comments coming from the Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sale last Sunday. When you see the actual amounts it just doesn't look too bad at all. The top four lots were a Rock N Roll Heaven colt from Our Sweet Victree which went to prolific buyer Brian Manzelmann for a very healthy $43,500. Next was another Rock N Roll Heaven from Hot Stuff bought by "Doc" Mammino for $35,000, closely pressed by Neil Badcock who shelled out $33,000 for a colt by Bettors Delight from Simply Loz. Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham went to $23,000 to obtain the colt by Rock N Roll Heaven from Strawbs Interact. In the bracket between $8-16,000, 17 lots were sold and between $5,-7,500 a further 23 were knocked down. As was predicted, there was something for every budget. Given current economic conditions ,and the harsh reality that Queensland prizemoney at the weaker meetings bears little relation to the costs of racing a pacer or trotter today, whether it be in a professional situation or hobbyist, it seems that we still have owners who are willing to take a punt. That in itself is encouraging.
All roads lead to Marburg next Sunday, April 13. Don't miss it, see the young drivers in action over the two Sunday meetings. Enjoy the Marburg hospitality. Jump outs are tomorrow morning with nominations taken from 7.15 am as usual. First education to go at 8.00am.
No great surprises on the leader board with Trevor Lambourn and Chantal Turpin tying the trainers division on two wins each, and Pete McMullen leading driver with three. The hobbyists were silent this week.