John Manzelmann, given three months to live 15 years ago, aiming to win the Townsville Cup with the Royal Ascot winner

Great story from trainer who got three months to live 15 years ago

Horse trainer John Manzelmann with Jade Doolan and horse Cochrane. Image: Included

It’s the kind of extraordinary story that maybe racing alone could deliver.

There’s the horse trainer who got three months to live and was so sick with terminal leukemia that they paid out his life insurance policy.

There’s the horse that was a €1 million yearling, trained by Aidan O’Brien and won for the Queen of Royal Ascot.

Mackay coach John Manzelmann and his seven-year-old South Pacific stay together for the most unlikely victories in Saturday’s $150,000 Townsville Cup (2000m).

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South Pacific has an incredible story, an expensive yearling that Irish wizard O’Brien had high hopes for when he started his racing career in Europe in 2018.

It turns out that not everything O’Brien touches turns to gold.

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South Pacific did win at Royal Ascot, beating Constantinople who bought David Hayes in 2019 to try to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

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Townsville Cup contender South Pacific won at Royal Ascot ahead of head coach Aidan O’Brien (pictured). Image: Getty Images

Constantinople finished fourth in the Caulfield Cup and 13th in the Melbourne Cup and has never really shot since, currently trained by Aaron Purcell and over the sticks in Victoria.

South Pacific was bought by Darren Dance’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock as a contender for the Cups, but has only won once in Australia.

Queensland country trainer Manzelmann picked it up online earlier this year for $40,000 through the Inglis April Sale.

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“This horse obviously didn’t live up to all the hype and interest in him early in his career,” Manzelmann said.

“But it is a wonderfully calm and easy horse to handle.

“I think he’s just starting to hit his tires.

“The two runs I gave him were clearly too short for him.

“I was very happy with his run in Townsville last weekend, especially after the post when he was very strong.

“I think he has a chance in the Townsville Cup, he will be very strong at the end, while some of those horses will be discovered in the 2000m.”

Mackay coach John Manzelmann was so ill that his life insurance policy was paid out.

TAB fixed odds have South Pacific as a $41 opportunity in the Townsville Cup.

But Manzelmann has beaten the odds before.

In 2007, he literally stood on death’s door.

Manzelmann went to the hospital with a sore back and was then told he had leukemia and had three months to live.

His condition was so dire that he says, “The insurance company even paid out my life insurance because I was terminally ill.”

But after an incredible recovery after a lengthy hospital stay and many bouts of chemotherapy, Manzelmann returned to health.

In typical country fashion, when asked about his health these days, Manzelmann says: “It’s all good mate, as good as gold!”

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