Stoutfast is too strong for rivals

VASTLY improved sprinter Stoutfast scored his third consecutive win when finishing too strongly for his seven rivals to win the Open Handicap (1200m) on a busy day of racing at Emerald last Saturday.

In the process, Stoutfast (Luke Dillon, $4.20) capped a successful week for owner-trainer Tony Button as his Octagonal gelding Sweed scored a promising win under the tutorship of Mackay mentor Darryl Hansen at that centre the previous Tuesday.

At Emerald, Stoutfast trailed leader Kouneli into the straight before finishing too powerfully to beat western visitor Decerto (Cheryl Rodgers, $4.20) by a half-neck with consistent Massiah (Dennis Whitmore, $3.00 favourite) a half-length back third.

In a busy finish only 3.3 lengths separated the entire eight horse field.

“I thought I had him sold a month or so back but nothing came of it. Since then I’ve won with him twice at Emerald as well as Moranbah. I’ll start him again at Emerald in a fortnight and then bush (spell) him over summer,” Button said of Stoutfast.

Newly settled Mackay jockey Tracy O’Hara rode her first Emerald winner when another local, the Ron Higginbotham syndicate horse Nerangatang ($5.50) won the Class 3 (1000m) after sitting just off the speed throughout.

The Clangalang mare won by 0.75 lengths from Golden Sails (Adrian Coome, $8.00) with the David Bagnall-trained Wannsee Knight (Dennis Whitmore, $9.00) third.

Nerangatang has proved to be a good money spinner since being acquired from the Gold Coast a few months back.

Earlier-on, Gladstone trainer Bagnall produced speedy Fine Shakira (Matt Cant, $3.00 favourite) to win the Maiden Handicap (1000m) in runaway fashion by 2.75 lengths thereby scoring the easiest victory on the five race card.

Rockhampton real estate agent David Bauer produced his one time Caulfield Cup entry Kelance to win the Class 5 (1300m) at Emerald at the good odds of $7.00.

Kelance (Mark Barnham) was 1.75 lengths too strong for cleverly named runner-up Spilt Milk (Over-Crying) who ran the favourite at $4.40 and finished a nose in front of third placed Wild Hero (Matt Cant, $6.00).

Trainer Wayne Pomfrett’s long trip from Mackay was worthwhile when Leica Zed (Mark Usher, $7.00) did best of his five starters to win the Class B (1300m).

The prolific race winning combination of Mackay trainer John Manzelmann and his stable jockey David Simmons had an “off” day when the closest they got with five starters was a seventh placing.

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