Day At The Track

More hard work than stroke of luck

01:00 PM 10 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Husband and wife team Kerryn Manning and Grant Campbell were rewarded for their long trip to Mildura on Friday with three winners,Harness racing
Husband and wife team Kerryn Manning and Grant Campbell were rewarded for their long trip to Mildura on Friday with three winners

There's no questioning the work ethic of Great Western harness racing couple Kerryn Manning and Grant Campbell.

The husband and wife team made the four-and half-hour trek to Mildura, in Victoria's far north west on Friday night, picking up three stable winners (and Manning four as a driver), including the coveted Italian Cup with the consistent Stroke of Luck (Major in Art-Bonton Lady (Armbro Operative).

Less than 24 hours later they put an awesome win on the board at the other end of the State at "headquarters", Tabcorp Park Melton, with their rising star Pat Stanley (Western Ideal-Jaz Tanner (Artiscape), who, at just his fifth run for the stable, took out the Markovina Free For All.

Then on Monday, Manning was her usual chipper self, picking up two winners just down the road at Horsham and taking her place in the Horsham Norm Smith Memorial Invitation Driver's Championship - won by Kate Gath.

Close to 1500 kilometres for the weekend, but Manning and Campbell are expert at placing their select 11-horse team to advantage and rarely miss when they make the long trip to Mildura.

"You've really just got to be able to place your horses and that's what we try to do," Manning said.

"Sometimes that means a trip to Mildura or Shepparton, but if the race suits then you've got to be prepared to do it," she said.

"It was really Stroke of Luck we were taking up this time, for the Italian Cup, because it was a race we thought was conditioned to suit him and he's been finding it a bit hard to win. But it was nice to pick up the other two wins as well."

Stroke of Luck is raced by the stable's loyal clients, Merv and Meg Butterworth and just held on to take the feature, ahead of local star Murranji Track, who's returning to his best ahead of the home town Mildura Pacing Cup carnival, starting March 31.

"Stroke of Luck's been racing well against strong opposition and we just thought the Italian Cup suited," Manning said.

"But that said, it's definitely not as easy to win at Mildura as it used to be, either."

Someone forgot to tell that to the super impressive Major Assassin (Art Major-Princess Cassi (Armbro Operative), though. The pacer, trained by Campbell, scored with ease for Manning by 34 metres in the Varapodio Estate Italian Pace, in a tidy 1:58.1.

"It just shows you what he can do when things work out for him," Manning laughed.

"He is quite smart, but he tends to get a bit fired up. He'd definitely be much more popular at home if he was a little bit easier to get on with!"

The stable's other winner at Mildura was promising filly, Bettor Romance (Bettors Delight-Chemical Romance (Northern Luck), by virtue of a successful protest in the Three-Year-Old Pace against Sassys a Terror, trained by Jess Tubbs and driven by Alex Ashwood.

Manning also scored for Mildura trainer Scott Garraway with Bettor B Nice (Bettors Delight-Alohomora (Badlands Hanover).

The Manning and Campbell team will continue clocking up the miles in coming weeks, with Boort Cup winner Pay Rise and Stroke of Luck likely to be aimed at coming Pacing Cup features at Charlton and Ouyen, while Stroke of Luck and possibly even Pat Stanley are under consideration for the Mildura carnival.

"I don't think two runs in the five days at Mildura would really be a problem for either of them," Manning said.

"All of our horses do heat work every three days, and those two handle it very well, so I think they'd be suited to the carnival format. We'll just see how things pan out in the next few weeks."


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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