When the track curator at Armidale Paceway trains a winner, you know the track he prepares is at its best.
At the Tamworth harness meeting conducted on the Armidale track on Thursday afternoon, Mary Todd Shannon broke through for her first career win at race start 17.
Mary Todd Shannon is trained by Armidale track curator Les Enks.
“John and Jeff Enks do a massive job with the track,” stated Moonbi reinsman Dean Chapple who handled the reins behind Mary Todd Shannon.
“The boys work tireless hours and so does Paul Harper and they are all in this mare so it’s good she won for them.”
Mary Todd Shannon has been knocking on the door for a win and came into the race off a last-start run at Menangle in a $20,000 Menangle Country Series final in September, where the mare finished ninth.
In the Sydney run Mary Todd Shannon looked impressive when she led the field but endured a lot of race pressure throughout the run.
“I was confident today,” said Chapple. “I was wrapped when Jeff rung me and asked me to drive her. His comments were “would you like to cut one loose for me”. We didn’t actually do that but we got the money.
“She has had the writing on the wall for a win for a while so I am glad that she finally got there.”
Mary Todd Shannon led the field in the Armidale HRC Committee Appreciation Pace from the two barrier and came away for a metre win over Queensland pacer Don’t Be Jealous (Ricky Gordon), and Uralla-trained Cronin, with Mitch Faulkner in the gig, was another two metres away in third place.
Gordon placed race pressure on Mary Todd Shannon for the majority of the race, with his charge Don’t Be Jealous racing out in the breeze.
“When Ricky is racing outside me he never goes away,” said Chapple. “We fought it out to the end. His horses are tough horses and it doesn’t matter where he is racing you always worry about him.”
Chapple was also looking for race favourite Cronin to make a bid for supremacy.
“I was looking for Cronin but I couldn’t see him, which was good really,” said Chapple, smirking. “He was definitely one to worry about in the race after his Maitland run.”
Cronin came into the race off a last-start win at Maitland but after receiving interference in the Armidale run, in the early stage of the race, he was at the back of the field.
Faulkner commenced a three wide run with Cronin 25m from home and rounded the final turn into the home straight five wide.
Mary Todd Shannon paid $7.50 for the win.
Inverell pacer Star Of Wonder also broke through for her first win at the meeting.
Trained by Julie Hobday and driven by Stacey Weidemann, Star Of Wonder’s debut win came in his fifth race.
“He felt really good in the race,” said Weidemann on returning to scale.
“Julie said last meeting he was a bit bumpy on the first turn so we just had to look after him and he travelled good and toughed it out well in the end.”
With Narrabri pacer Capital Cullect (Chris Shepherdson) leading the field, Weidemann placed Star Of Wonder three back on the outside running line.
It was then a trail into the race behind Queensland trained Veluti (Brendan Barnes) to place Star Of Wonder in the right position to go on and take the race by 1.5m over Veluti, with True Feelings (Anthony Varga) another 3.6m away in third place.
“He was still travelling good,” said Weidemann of the Auckland Reactor gelding. “We had to have a go so he was good enough to pull it off.”
Weidemann went on to drive a winning double at the meeting when she drove Readily to a win in the New England’s Own FM100.3 Armidale Pace, paying $41.
The win of Readily gave Lola Weidemann two winners for the day in the training ranks after she guided stable runner Webby Vanderquack to victory in the Tamworth HRC Annual General Meeting Wednesday 24th October Ladyship Pace, which also gave her a winning drive for the day.
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