Stewart Campbell lands Lismore feature race double

Stewart Campbell holds the Lismore Cup after Macchina Volante’s win on Thursday. Photo: Trackside Photography.

How good is Murwillumbah’s Stewart Campbell going right now?

The in-form trainer has prepared 12 runners since June, training seven winners in the process, with the likes of Macchina Volante and Pride of Pyingerra are absolutely flying and have won a myriad of feature races between them. 

“It’s great for me and it’s good for the owners. A lot of them are first time owners and some are long time owners who have stuck with me for years,” Campbell said. 

“A lot of these owners have shares in both horses, and they are having the ride of a lifetime. “They are thinking ‘how easy is this?’, so I have to try and keep a lid on the excitement.”

In a huge day at Lismore on Thursday, Campbell prepared Macchina Volante to win the $75,000 Lismore Cup and Pride of Pyingerra to take out the $50,000 Untamed Sprint. 

“It was a good day,” Campbell laughed. 

“I’ve been pretty lucky to have these two going well at the moment. I’ve always had one that’s kept me going but we are having a good run at the moment.”

Macchina Volante won the Murwillumbah Cup back on August 20 under the guidance of Ben Looker before backing up and winning the Lismore Cup Prelude on September 9 with Jasper Franklin in the saddle. 

The pair teamed up again in the Lismore Cup over the 2210m journey and with Franklin’s three-kilo claim, the five-year-old only had to carry 58kg.

In a very gritty run, Macchina Volante settled third behind the early leader Riot Act, and despite battling the leader on the home straight and looking at the end of his run, the Hinchinbrook gelding kicked again and pulled away for a strong win. 

“He has been like that in those sprinting distances. He gets to the font and half asks if they want a bit of crack,” Campbell laughed. 

“He did that at Lismore. I’ve got no doubt he is a good competitor. He is like that to do anything with, he can be a bit of a grub, but you don’t mind if they are like that when they are winning.”

Franklin rode Macchina Volante well in the feature race, securing the biggest victory of his young career and Campbell liked the fact that the young hoop took improvement from his Lismore Cup Prelude win.

“At his first ride, he set him a bit of a task, but I always like to put them on a second time if I was not over the top rapt the first time, and even yesterday, he had a plan, but I said we were going to do it this way and I couldn’t fault him on the ride and he is a good listener,” Campbell said. 

“He took on our input, listened and it worked out well.”

The Northern Rivers ‘Cup King’ is now off to the paddock before potentially being set for a race in town or sent to a trainer closer to metropolitan tracks. 

“He got home last night and went to the paddock,” Campbell said. 

“He will go to the track tomorrow, and we’ll trot him around and then he will have a couple of weeks in the paddock.

“He is getting hard to place up here now, so we will think about whether he stays here, or he goes somewhere else. I’ve got no doubt (he can win in town) plus he hasn’t quite peaked, and he wasn’t bottomed out this prep.”

Jasper Franklin guides Macchina Volante to victory in the $75,000 Lismore Cup. Photo: Trackside Photography.

Campbell’s second feature winner at Lismore could very well be putting his hand up for a berth in The Kosciuszko after claiming the 1210m Untamed sprint. 

The winner of five races from 22 starts has been in very good form heading into the race, winning a 1200m Class Three at Lismore last time out. 

After jumping well and sitting just off the pace for Luke Rolls, the five-year-old peeled off the leader’s back to find the rails and subsequently the lead before holding on well at the finish. 

“I know it sounds silly, but he has won four of his last six, including two class records, and he won an open class, and he is an on-pace horse that is going very good at the minute,” Campbell said. 

“He would give you a good run for your money in a race like The Kosciuszko.”

The Reward for Effort gelding was formerly prepared in Victoria but has really found himself in the Northern NSW sun, improving out of sight for Campbell.

“We didn’t pay a lot of money for him, and he came up from Cranbourne and he was going through the motions at first,” Campbell said.

“Now, he has been put in the paddock and he is getting a bit of attitude, which is really good for him.

“He is a good horse, you can give him a week’s work, put him in the paddock and he comes back good and ready to race. He will have a couple of weeks off unless someone comes calling (for The Kosciuszko).”

It what was another good day of Showcase country racing, the Lismore eight-race program lived up to expectations and full results can be viewed here.