A Naracoorte harness racer has beaten the odds to be crowned South Australia’s Horse Of The Year for 2016/17.
Emain Macha, whose stable name is “Fritz”, also won the best Three Year Old in the Harness Racing SA awards. Last year, he won best Two Year Old.
Emain Macha has an impressive record of 18 starts, 14 wins, and three seconds in his racing career. He was considered the best horse after managing to score seven wins from nine starts this season.
The horse, trained by Naracoorte’s Greg Scholefield, won the Graham Head Memorial at Shepparton, the Victoria Sires Classic at Melton, and the Mildura Guineas.
But earlier this year, Mr Scholefield was worried that Emain Macha would succumb to illness.
“He contracted a virus, and then it got worse,” Mr Scholefield said.
“He then came down with bronchitis, and lost a lot of weight. All four of his feet swelled up, and we were close to losing him.”
Thankfully Emain Macha pulled through, thanks to the expertise of the local vet.
“I’d like to sincerely thank Tony Tully, the Naracoorte vet, from the Naracoorte & Penola Veterinary Centre,” Mr Scholefield said.
“He put him (Macha) on a course of drugs, and he slowly came through. I’m ever thankful to Tony for his guidance.”
Emain Macha is set to return to the tracks in December. Until then, it’s back to business as usual at the Scholefield property.
Every day, Mr Scholefield trains Macha on a homemade track. Macha has a younger sister who is looking to be a fine racer, like the other horses in Emain Macha’s family.
“It’s like anything, it’s a lot of hard work,” Mr Scholefield said. “To get the rewards, you’ve got to work hard – or be extremely lucky!”
Mr Scholefield has always been involved in horses, having been a rider when he was younger. Now in retirement, he spends his time caring for his harness horses.
“Fritz is a lovely horse,” he said. “He’s very quiet, and a good stable pet.”
At only four years old, Emain “Fritz” Macha is a gelding that has many years of racing ahead of him.
“All of his family have had quite a bit of success, they’ve all won races,” Mr Scholefield said. “But he seems to be the best of the lot.
“I hope he continues that way.”