By Mark Brassel
A long-term plan by trainer Mark Schmetzer could reap some well-deserved rewards when his ‘temperamental’ mare Love None contests next Sunday’s $150,000 Country Championships Qualifier at Scone.
“She has been hard work – she’s a tough horse to handle and train,” Schmetzer revealed. “We’ve done a stack of work to get her right and hopefully she can now pay us back – we set her for this race more than six months ago.”
Love None was a bargain buy despite being by former Coolmore stallion, Duke of Marmalade, with Mark’s dad (Les) buying the horse as a weanling.
The mare didn’t start racing until she was a three-year-old and could only manage a third placing from her first four starts.
“She’s difficult at times but I’d say we’ve finally turned the corner now,” Schmetzer said.
“She went crazy in a float to the Newcastle trials once and smashed her hock. And another time she went off at the gates at Randwick before a Highway race and was a late scratching.
“The defining moment may have been when she did a backflip in the barriers here before a trial. I think that episode scared her and she seems to have calmed down now; she can really gallop.”
And it shows on her form card with Love None recording three wins and just as many placings from her past six appearances.
Schmetzer gave Love None a freshen up after finishing fast for third at Scone last December before she resumed at Muswellbrook on March 2. The mare came from 13th spot on the home turn, sizzling along the rails to beat a handy field carrying 59kg.
“We thought she may need the run but it was a big win but she got all the breaks. She’s better second-up so we’re expecting her to run a huge race in the Scone Championships heat. Racheal Murray knows the horse and gets along with her, so she’ll be riding again.”
Schmetzer is also hoping to get stablemate Majestic Pedrille into the Championships but has a ‘Plan B’ just in case.
“She does not have a rating as high as Love None so she may struggle to get into the field,” Schmetzer explained. “I will run her in the Class Two at Scone if she doesn’t get a run in the Championships qualifier.”
Majestic Pedrille led but proved wayward down the straight when ninth in Love None’s Muswellbrook win.
“She performed well first-up at Port (Macquarie) then was a bit disappointing last time. If she gets into the Championships the 1400-metres will be right up her alley.
“We also have the Wildcard at home on April 1 so if we don’t immediately qualify, we’ll be flying the flag for Muswellbrook in that race. I rode both during the week and they’re ready to go; I struggled to hold onto them – they are both looking and feeling enormous.”
Three-time city winner Suncraze will be among the opposition at Scone and is currently sitting on the second line of betting at $6 on TAB fixed odds for the Newhaven Park Country Championships Final on April 7.