ASTUTE trainer Greg Scholefield left yesterday’s Strathalbyn meeting with mixed emotions.
On one hand he was thrilled with a runner’s debut win, but on the other hand, he was confused over his stable star’s lack lustre performance.
Making her first racing appearance, Labella Rock blitzed her rivals with Wayne Hill in the cart, giving Scholefield a perfect start to the program.
Driven confidently, the two-year-old occupied the ‘death seat’ before powering her way to an 11-metre win from Our Blackeyed Suzy, with Woody Nightshade a metre away third.
“She has shown plenty in her work and at the trials, so I expected her to be extremely hard to beat,” Scholefield said. “I’ve had a reasonable opinion of her all the way along and expect her to get better.
“She has already shown improvement between the trials and races in the way she has handled the trip to the track, so I can’t see any reason why she won’t benefit greatly from that run.”
By Pet Rock from Machabella, Labella Rock is a half-sister to Scholefield’s highly-successful pacer, Emain Macha.
To Scholefield’s dismay, however, the gelding raced well below his best later on the card when unplaced behind Just Rockon Bye in the Strathalbyn Cup.
It’s only the third time in 28 starts the multiple feature race winner has missed a placing.
“I’m at a bit of a loss with him,” Scholefield said. “After the race he was checked out, when I got home I did his temperature again, but everything seems fine.
“He didn’t run as good as he should the start before when he also missed the placings, but I forgave him for that as he’d done a lot of travelling, but this time I just can’t put my finger on it.
“His work has been good, he trialled well before the race, but didn’t run up to that.
“He is a big horse, over 16 hands, and Strathalbyn is a pretty small, tight track, so at this stage I can only assume he simply wasn’t comfortable.”
Emain Macha’s effort is likely to see Scholefield scrap his interstate plans, however, Labella Rock remains on target to cross the border.
“I had the Vicbred in mind for Emain Macha but I can’t take him over on that run,” Scholefield said. “Labella Rock is also in the Vicbred, so I will target her at the heats next week.”