Manzelmann and Hutchinson come together in time of need

Queensland driver Lachie Manzelmann and trainer Richard Hutchinson have most certainly needed each other over the last few weeks.

The combination have come together on the track for success – grabbing the 2022 Group 3 Trotting Feature last Saturday evening at Albion Park with veteran square gaiter Kingdom Come.

The victory handed former stud master Hutchinson his first win as a trainer in Group company.

But, it goes much deeper than that for Manzelmann and Hutchinson.

The 68-year-old Hutchinson has had a few troubles with his car of late that tows his float full of horses to the races.

So, Manzelmann organised for his partner Chloe Butler to loan her car to the veteran trainer for a period of time.

Kingdom Come is shooting for his second straight black-type victory of the TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Season on Saturday evening at Albion Park in the Trotters Spring Sprint at Group 2 level.

Kingdom Come is shooting for his second straight black-type victory of the TAB Queensland Summer Harness Racing Season on Saturday evening at Albion Park in the Trotters Spring Sprint at Group 2 level.

Hutchinson will not be able to head to the races on Saturday night as he is travelling to the Sunshine Coast for his son’s wedding.

It will be his first full day away from his stable and property in Tamborine for five years.

Trainer Richard Hutchinson.

So, with Hutchinson enjoying himself on the Sunshine Coast, Manzelmann has offered to come and pick up the old trotter and take the horse to the track for his mate.

The 23-year-old Manzelmann is doing so even though he is suspended from driving on Saturday night and does not have to be at the track.

“It is fantastic that Lachie is doing that, that is what harness racing is all about as an industry,” Hutchinson said.

“People looking after each other.”

Announced earlier this year, the winners of both the Group 2 Queensland Cup and Group 2 Queensland Trotters Sprint on November 12 will receive a golden ticket for this year’s Inter Dominion, commencing on November 26 at Ballarat.

As Hutchinson had not previously nominated his old campaigner for the series, he would need to pay a late entry fee of $10,000 if he was to win his second Group race in seven days and qualify for the Inter Dominion trotter’s event.

It is fair to say the Inter Dominion was unlikely to be on the respected trainers radar a few weeks ago.

The 12-year-old started last Saturday’s race as a $126 chance and shocked everyone to claim the prize.

Manzelmann is hopeful Hutchinson would pay the late entry fee if he can make it back-to-back triumphs this week.

“I am sure if he does happen to win on Saturday night, Richard would not be scared to pay the late entry fee,” the top reinsman said.

“To have a runner in the Inter Dominion, that is what everyone aims to do.”

In a previous incarnation of the gelding’s career, he was an Inter Dominion Finalist.

Trainer Richard Hutchinson.

He qualified for the 2018 decider with previous trainer Andy Gath.

Now, at 12 years of age, he is racing in nearly career best touch.

The veteran conditioner – Hutchinson – thinks the secret to his breakthrough Group winner is keeping the old gelding in positive spirits.

“He is a handy horse but he just has a bit of age on him,” Hutchinson said.

“That is why he is racing so well, because he is happy.

“He waits for me at the gate every morning for me to come and jog him.

“I think having them as happy horses is what I try and do with all of them.

“I am having a pretty good run at the moment and if you can get all your ducks in a row so they are happy, that is the answer to it all.

“Anyone can get horses fit but it is about getting horses wanting to be there and wanting to do the racing.”

Hutchinson has 11 standardbreds in work, of which two are trotters.

He rarely backs his own runners but had a small dabble at the massive $126 odds on offer last week.

The trainer and breeder thought his old square gaiter was a much better chance in the race than the price suggested and Kingdom Come did the rest.

The driver of the veteran thought the same.

“He is just one of those horses that is there all the time and he is always waiting his turn for the right run,” Manzelmann said.

“Everything worked out.

“He did not deserve to be the price he was; he was going better than that before Saturday.”

In his younger days, Hutchinson dreamed of racing a standardbred like champion Maori’s Idol after watching him in person at Albion Park.

The team behind Kingdom Come after the victory.

It has taken him a long while to even get trotters in his barn with Hutchinson only preparing a handful across his career – including two under his watch currently.

“The best horse I have ever seen in my life and the most beautiful horse I have ever seen was Maori’s Idol,” Hutchinson said.

“Subconsciously I have always thought that I would love to have a trotter one day, it has taken a long time for that to happen, because Maori’s Idol raced back in the 1970s.

“But, I finally got there.

“They are completely different going horses but it is a buzz.

“I did not think I would be getting a buzz like this with a horse at this stage of my life.”

With Manzelmann suspended, Narissa McMullen takes the seat from the one draw on Saturday night.

“It is something you never really see and something you would never see in the thoroughbred code,” Manzelmann said of a 12-year-old winning a Group race.

“In harness it will become more common and with a horse like him, he did not start racing until he was older so he has not been around for that long in races.”

By Jordan Gerrans