WINNING FAREWELL: Laurie Manzelmann was an icon in the racing industry.
WINNING FAREWELL: Laurie Manzelmann was an icon in the racing industry. Contributed

Fitting farewell for a racing pioneer

REVERED as a 'loveable larrikin', Laurie Manzelmann's touching farewell captured the impact he had on the racing and Mackay communities.

The first race of yesterday's meet at Mackay Turf Club honoured a man deeply embedded in Queensland's racing history.

Mr Attitude, trained by Laurie's long time friend Ricky Vale, won the Laurie Manzelmann Memorial race in a canter.

Watching jockey Ashley Butler in the pink and lime colours the late trainer made famous, Laurie's wife Lyn Manzelmann became quite emotional.

"That, I can say, was one of the biggest highlights of my life to see those colours go around again," she said.

Manzelmann is a name synonymous with success in Queensland racing.

Several hundred wins in an illustrious career has left a lasting legacy and impression on the industry.

Family and friends in attendance lauded the racing pioneer as a passionate, loveable larrikin, who was always there when a helping hand was needed.

His son Brad Manzelmann described his father as 'a mate'.

"There's nothing Dad didn't know about a horse, it was crazy what he could do with them," Brad said.

"It's very humbling to come back to Mackay and have a race in Dad's name."

Warren Morriss had been a friend of Laurie's for about 30 years.

Mr Morriss explained Laurie epitomised what mateship was all about, after pulling him out of a hole before their relationship blossomed.

"I came down from Mareeba, and I was in a very dark space - the old black dog had me down on my knees and busted me," he said.

"Laurie took me in ... I spent 12 months up here with him and 'Lyny' and he turned the corner for me."

Laurie's impact on the community extended beyond the race course.

Instead of flowers for the funeral, the family requested any gifts become donations to Riding for the Disabled.

Mrs Manzelmann said her late husband always had time for kids and horses had taught him a great deal.

She said he initially tried to train his horses with a slightly heavy hand.

"He found out you got more bees with honey than vinegar," she said.

"It changed Laurie's whole outlook on life; with me, the kids, everything."

For a man of such resounding success, a final race win was a fitting farewell.