Dennis Denuto finds the vibe

Dennis Denuto finds ‘the vibe’ at Roma


Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.


IT’S been more than two decades since the Australian classic comedy movie The Castle soared onto screens, but it’s still not unusual to find some of its iconic one-liners dropped into everyday conversation.

The beloved 1997 comedy introduced us not only to the blue-collar Kerrigans, but to their lawyer Dennis Denuto whose court case closing argument “It’s the vibe” has now entered the lexicon of famous movie quotes.

Charleville trainer Edward Jonson has also found ‘the vibe’ in training 6YO gelding Dennis Denuto to win the second Roads to Roma series final (1640m) held at Roma on Saturday, July 28. Having begun his racing career in New Zealand, Dennis Denuto was also based in NSW and Central Queensland before entering Johnson’s stables in May this year to record wins at Barcaldine and Roma.

It seems a travesty of justice that a horse foaled in New Zealand should be named Dennis Denuto. On first glance it appears that New Zealanders do a have a sense of humour as his dam is named Vibe. However, delve deeper and the fact emerges that Vibe is Australian-bred. She is by King’s Best (USA) from the Danehill (USA) mare Confer and resides at Westbury Stud, Auckland, New Zealand, where she was mated to Australian-bred elite sprinter Swiss Ace. A star Magic Millions graduate, Swiss Ace won the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield as one of his 12 wins from 20 starts for Sunshine Coast based trainer Mick Mair before being acquired for stud duties in New Zealand.

In fact, Westbury Stud is owned by Australian retail and racing icon and Magic Millions co-owner Gerry Harvey. Having acquired Westbury in 2009, Harvey sent several of his Australian-bred mares including Vibe to boost numbers – especially for his first season sire purchase Swiss Ace. So it comes as no surprise that when the colt was passed-in for $NZ55,000 at the 2013 New Zealand Ready to Run sale Harvey kept him to race and got the vibe to name him Dennis Denuto.

Harvey also owns Vibe’s dam Confer. Now 23 years old, multiple Group placed Confer has produced seven winners while her fourteenth foal, a colt by Golden Slipper winner Pierro, sold for $100,000 at this year’s Magic Millions yearling sale on the Gold Coast.

Originally trained in New Zealand by Murray Baker, Dennis Denuto had a win and three placings before he crossed the Tasman Sea to be placed in Sydney with Murray’s son Bjorn Baker. He managed four placings with him before the horse was on-sold to Rockhampton-based Jamie McConachy who won four races with him at Rockhampton. A further two wins with Charleville-based Edward Johnson has boosted his race record to seven wins and 16 placings from 43 starts.

Manzelmann dominates Middlemount meeting

Mackay trainer John Manzelmann (left) (5 winners) and Rockhampton apprentice jockey Thomas Doyle (3 winners) at Middlemount races.

Mackay trainer John Manzelmann (left) (5 winners) and Rockhampton apprentice jockey Thomas Doyle (3 winners) at Middlemount races.

WHILE Mackay trainers landed the card of winners at Middlemount’s 30th anniversary races last Saturday, August 4, one of their ilk came within centimetres of achieving that rare feat himself.

Before a crowd of 1500 (well up on recent years) racegoers at Rosewood Park racecourse, John Manzelmann trained the last five race winners and only missed the first race when his pair of runners were beaten a long neck and a nose by fellow Mackay mentor Fred Featherstone’s Mishani La Scala ridden by Rockhampton apprentice Nicole Seymour.

Racecaller Tony McMahon reports Featherstone was understandably exuberant on achieving a rather unique feat himself. Some 30 years prior at the Middlemount Race Club’s first Cup meeting, Featherstone won the opening race at the track and three decades later he did likewise with Mishani La Scala in the first race on anniversary day.

Photo finishes were the order of all six races, with long standing club official Bill Gray saying “I can’t recall closer finishes or more exciting racing in all the years I’ve been here.”

Featherstone was delighted as he reminisced to 1988 saying “It’s amazing really. A lot has changed since that day and the track and atmosphere here today is wonderful”.

The spacious Rosewood Park soil track favoured all runners – be they leaders, backmarkers, rails runners or those galloping out wide.

John Manzelmann said those very words in his many trophy presentation acceptances speeches while adding “I can’t work out why so few trainers came here today. The Middlemount club has it all – a fair track, generous co-operation and the marquees provided five-star restaurant service.”

Manzelmann, 47, has 24 horses in training in West Mackay near the beach and his whole team raced last Saturday – 18 at Middlemount and six at Bowen where he landed two placegetters.

At Middlemount he shared three winners with Rockhampton apprentice Thomas Doyle who brought his winning tally since debut race riding just last February to 23. Doyle, indentured to Callaghan Park trainer Peter Fleming, carried Manzelmann’s multi coloured blue silks with a white cap to victory at Middlemount on Samuel James, Charlie Rocket and Bawaardi Rocket.

In the $10,000 Anglo American Middlemount Cup (1475m) Doyle’s mount for Manzelmann in Far North ($2.70) finished a nose and neck back third behind the trainer’s Hot Tempo, Nicole Seymour) – the $10.00 outsider of the field.

Seymour’s double brought-up her ninth race success while Clermont apprentice Emma Bell’s short neck win on Manzelmann’s Gorgeous Girl in the Class B (1200m) was her 38th success.

Manzelmann success well deserved

CENTRAL Queensland racecaller and trainer Tony McMahon insists John Manzelmann’s success at Middlemount is well deserved.

“While other trainers inexplicably stayed away from the meeting which offered better prize money than most of its country club rivals, Manzelmann ensured a magnificent day of memorable racing came about. Just for the record, Manzelmann’s 18 horse team at Middlemount won $36,625 prize money with John owning 16 of them outright his share amounted to just over $32,000,” McMahon said.

“For somebody who is prepared to stake so much money into racing by buying and training horses, John Manzelmann, who treks myriad kilometres down the highways and bush roads each season, deserves each and every dollar his horses win for him. Without fear of contradiction, John Manzelmann is a shining light for country racing in Queensland as his achievements don’t come about without the hard yards of tireless work, long hours and sleepless nights.

“His selfless ethics by making the effort in supporting country racing rather than leaving his horses home in the boxes where they can’t earn prize money, is something numerous rival trainers should adopt,” McMahon said.

Peacock now has Newmarket double

BEAUDESERT trainer Di Murphy claimed her second north Queensland country feature in a month when former Godolphin sprinter Peacock won the Newmarket Handicap at Cannon Park in Cairns on Saturday, August 4.

The 5YO gelding ridden by regular jockey Justin Stanley previously claimed the Newmarket Handicap at Rockhampton on July 6. By Lonhro from the Commands mare Iridescente, Peacock was an $80,000 buy at a Magic Millions tried horse sale after winning at Sandown in May.

Racing Queensland webnews reports Murphy is only in her seventh season as a trainer after learning the ropes working for New Zealand trainers Roger James, Gary Stewart and Kaye Tinsley. She also had two stints – one for six months and another for a year – riding work in Japan.

Murphy was never worried about backing up Peacock after failing behind Grey Missile in the $100,000 Cleveland Bay Handicap in Townsville a week earlier.

Meanwhile the successful duo of trainer Janel Ryan and visiting jockey Robert Thompson combined again to win the IGA Cup (1900m) with former Brisbane sprinter, Binary. Thompson also rode the New Zealand-bred gelding to victory in a 1500m Class Plate at his second start for Ryan in Cairns on July 17.

Previously trained by Kelly Schweida at Eagle Farm, Binary (Starcraft/Calveen) is part-owned by Gold Coast bookmaker Laurie Bricknell and has now won five of his 38 starts.

Newcastle-based Thompson is a regular visitor to the north Queensland country circuit each year while American-born Ryan arrived in Queensland more than 30 years and spent more than 11 years living in Cairns before moving to Tolga on the Atherton Tablelands.

Ryan has won many country Cups in the north including a Townsville Amateurs Cup and Cairns Cup.


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