Golf commentator Sandy Mackenzie is currently on assignment in Asia, but the passionate horse owner wasn’t going to let that minor detail stop her from enjoying the maiden victory of her pride and joy, the Rachael Cunningham-trained four-year-old mare Martini Bianco.
Breaking through at start number 10, Martini Bianco ($4.60) was confidently ridden by apprentice Michael Poy and proved too slick in the Shannon Bros Cartage Maiden Plate (1600m) at Murtoa last Saturday.
Martini Bianco was purchased as an unraced three-year-old from the 2017 Inglis Great Southern sale for $6250 by a syndicate which included Mackenzie, beginning her career with trainer/jockey Jackie Beriman before joining the Cunningham stable at Cranbourne.
Mackenzie was over the moon with Saturday’s victory.
“She’s a very special girl,” she said. “She’s thriving with Rachael, who was very confident she’d be hard to beat when she drew a decent barrier.”
Typhoon Kong-rey caused the cancellation of Mackenzie’s commentary commitments on Saturday, so she was able to watch her beloved “Maggie” win from the comfort of her hotel room.
Mackenzie has been a racehorse owner for seven years but a horse lover her entire life. Growing up in Edenhope in Victoria’s west, she had two horses.
Mackenzie only took up golf as a teenager (at the urging of her golf-mad parents) due to both horses being lame at the time.
A golf commentator for 28 years, Mackenzie has worked at events in Australasia, Asia, South Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
As a professional golfer (1979-1986), she won the coveted British Olivetti tournament in England in 1983, as well as playing in America and Japan before back problems changed her direction.
Her first foray into ownership was with Pat Hyland, with whom she had some success as part-owner of the Group 2-placed gelding Gredington, who was forced into retirement by throat problems as a five-year-old.
Currently she has shares in a promising three-year-old filly (Hot Blonde) and an unnamed Supreme Class filly, both with Nikki Burke.
A registered stablehand, Mackenzie enjoys working around the stables at Nikki Burke Racing when she isn’t tied up with golf commitments.
Hot Blonde has been nominated for the Group 1 Kennedy Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 8, and will be attempting to break out of maiden company this weekend.
Martini Bianco was Cunningham’s second winner for the current season, coming off a career-best tally of 14 in 2017/18.
Martini Bianco will target a benchmark 58 over 1600 metres) at Echuca on Monday.