By Duane Ranger
Good things eventually happen to good people and just before 7.45pm at Redcliffe Paceway on Saturday Dr John Mammino achieved his just reward.
For 41 years the retired and much respected GP has waited for a Group One winner. Then thanks to Grant Dixon he not only won the 2019 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sale Final for the 2yo pacers, but landed the quinella as well.
Dr Mammino owns the winner, Governor Jujon, and the second-placed, Signor Jujon.
“What a wonderful feeling. I’ve finally landed a Group One winner after all these years. It’s been a long time coming. I guess good things happen to those who wait,” he said.
“Judy would have been so proud. It’s quite unbelievable to think that I quinella-ed the race. Adam (Sanderson) had no right to finish second from where he drew (11). Adam is a very underrated driver. Both Grant and Adam are two of the very best going around.”
Judy was Dr Mammino’s wife, who passed away in 2011. He combined both of their first names to get ‘Jujon’.
“I wasn’t really interested in harness racing until Sammy Francesco approached me one day at the trots in 1978 to see if I wanted to go in on a horse named Tyrone Park. I did and he wasn’t much good,” he said.
“My parents were cane farmers and Sammy used to cut cane for us. That was my introduction to harness ownership. It’s been a long wait for that group One winner, but I’m delighted that day has finally arrived. I must have owned 100 horses since the late 1970s.”
He said he paid $18,000 for Governor Jujon at last year’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale and $3,000 for Signor Jujon.
“I thought ‘Governor’s’ price was realistic but I couldn’t believe I paid just $3,000 for ‘Signor’. He had lovely breeding. I actually could have got him for $2,000 but I bid $3,000 and no-one wanted him,” Dr Mammino said.
Governor Jujon, who is now unbeaten in four starts, is out of the Western Terror mare, Fifth And Broadway, while Signor Jujon is from the P B Bullville mare, Red Red Robin. They are by Cammibest and Mr Feelgood respectively.
Governor Jujon started a smoking hot $1.12 favourite heading into his Group One1780m mobile.
Dixon and Governor Jujon started from the widest front-row draw and settled back early before being taken to sit parked at the 1000m.
They then swept up on the turn and ran away to beat their stablemate by 1.7m. They stopped the clock in a swift 2:09.8 with a 1:57.4 mile-rate. The winning sectionals were 30, 30.5, 28.3 and 28.8.
“That was a very satisfying win. He displayed a lot of speed and character tonight. He was strong all the way to the line. Next month’s $100,000, 2yo Triad will be his next main goal,” Dixon said.
Dr Mammino said he did experience some happy times with General Jujon in the early to mid-2000s when that pacer won 26 races and $165,686.
“He never won a Group One race though. He did race in a couple of Group Ones but midfield was his best placing,” he said.
“I used to be a hobby trainer as well and was best mates with Grant’s father, Bill, for more than 10 years.
“I don’t go to Redcliffe much these days. I’m blind in one eye which makes things a little difficult. Don’t worry I saw the big race very clearly though.
“I owe so much to Grant. He’s by far the best horseman in Australia. I would also like to thank Jason Carkeet a lot for breaking in my horses. He’s a top bloke as well. His father Reggie is my best mate and I try and catch up with him every Saturday at the Albion Park trots,” Dr Mammino said.
“I’m over the moon. I have two very nice juvenile pacers, but I’m not silly. I know in this racing game you can never get too far ahead of yourself,” he added.