A $2000 buy brings joy

A large group of Lancefield golfers were excited on Sunday when a horse they each put $200 towards won a $31,500 race at Bendigo.
Lady Cellarbration’s narrow victory in the 1400m Maiden for four-year-olds and upwards also provided trainer and part-owner Dale Schmitt with his first winner for five years.
To say celebrations were in order is an understatement!
Schmitt, now aged 63 and no longer a full-time trainer, has been involved with the racing industry since 1984. He’s also a builder by trade and resides on a 50-acre property between Romsey and Lancefield. Enough room to train a galloper or two.
About three months ago, with COVID-19 hitting the headlines, Lady Cellarbration came into the lives of some keen Lancefield golfers purely by chance.
Schmitt, who has played golf at Lancefield for the past three seasons, just happened to be in the Lancefield Hotel with fellow golfer Alistair Beard, who had tossed up whether to go and see a mate’s horse run at Flemington, or play golf; the latter won out.
The conversation turned to racing, and Beard expressed interest in getting a share in a horse.
“There’s plenty of punters out at the golf club, and some walked in …the idea of racing a horse together just grew,” Schmitt explained.
He settled on Lady Cellarbration, a four-year-old mare with no placings from 13 starts, a real bargain basement buy at $2000 through the online bloodstock sales.
Schmitt took on the task of getting the mare fit on his Romsey track, with fast work at Kilmore.
At her first start for the new owners the mare ran fourth at huge odds at Benalla; a third placing at Ballarat at $81 followed.
“She didn’t have much luck at her last couple of runs, and in-form Craig Newitt was on board on Sunday … he rode a tremendous race for us,” Schmitt said. Newitt is a close family friend.
The jockey took Lady Cellarbration to the front from barrier 8, and led into the straight. At the 100m mark she looked likely to be overhauled, but held on bravely to hold off Sly Sloth by 0.1 lengths.
The proud owners (all golfers) are Mark Cruise, Alistair Beard, Denis Linehan, Jason Byron, Trevor Lambert, Glen Holland, Steve Montgomerie, Warren Young, Schmitt and his daughter Abbey. Several are first-time owners.
Schmitt was mystified at the short TAB odds for the winner ($4.80 and $1.40) with the official starting price $7.50.
“Someone must have put plenty on, and it wasn’t me,” he quipped.
“Special thanks must go to Jason Baldock for his dedicated track-work and race riding in the lead-up to this win,” he added.

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