Benalla trainer Julie Schmidt took out the $35,000 Ladbrokes Manangatang Cup 12/10 over 975m with It’s Not There at Swan Hill on Friday — but didn’t see any of it, because she wasn't there.
Instead while partner Wayne Nichols got to do the post-match interviews on her behalf, she was back home and hard at work in the local bakery.
It was Schmidt’s first starter this season and It’s Not There’s first start in 11 months, at the generous odds of 11/1.
It’s Not There jumped well from a wide gate and moved quickly across to sit up on the early pace set by Coco Couture, from the number one gate.
At the turn the pacemaker quickly faded (then vanished to finish last in the 12-horse field) and It’s Not There took up the running.
Hitting the front as the field straightened, It’s Not There stole a break and while several others surged at various points over the closing 200m, the six-year-old gelding found more than enough to hold off the fast-finishing Reward With Return, which had cut its three-length buffer to a tight length (and a little bit).
Nichols said this was the second time the horse had won on a Friday — and Schmidt had missed both.
“But she will still be rapt,” Nichols said.
“She has done a great job with this horse, he’s had a few soundness issues and today was only the sixth start of his career.
“He’s quite a good horse and if he was sound, he would almost certainly have been a city Saturday type, but he has had problems, you know.
“Yeah, you’ve got to let him run along a little bit, he has low-grade wind problems so you can’t try and hold him up, you’ve got to let him get into his rhythm and everything and Robbo (jockey Craig Robertson) understands him.
“He can be a little slow-footed but he flew the gates today — there might be a midweek meeting in town with a bit of luck, but he will win more races.”
Robertson agreed It’s Not There “stepped nicely”.
“But I didn’t see how Coco Couture had jumped and before I could check all of a sudden he'd rushed into the lead,” Robertson said.
“My horse just moved across easily and by the corner wanted to come off the bit a little, like he wanted a breather, but as we came around into the straight he stepped it up himself and went after the leader, so I had to go ‘not yet, boy, not yet’,” he said.
“But when I did let him go, he really found some more speed and he sort of dumped them pretty nicely.
“Wayne and Julie have been massive supporters of mine and when we got together we have had a lot of luck and I think they have done a great job with this bloke.”
MORE ON BENALLA RACING