‘She's Scary': Mackenna's Magical Shepparton Return

BOOM sprinter Mackenna made a sensational return to racing on Monday, setting Shepparton alight in a heat of the Matchmakers series.

BOOM sprinter Mackenna made a sensational return to racing on Monday afternoon for new trainer Paul Abela, setting Shepparton alight in a heat of the Matchmakers series (450m).

Having her first start since October 26, Mackenna sizzled around Shepparton in 24.89sec in the first of two heats of the bitches-only Sportsbet Matchmakers.

"I've had fast dogs before, but I've never had one like her," a relieved and excited Paul Abela said.

"It's scary what she can run. 

READ: Gifted Whiskey Riot Youngster Mackenna Sold

"I've never had dogs that run track records on trial day.

"I gave her four trials. The first two were at Bendigo, then she had a 390m at Shepparton and broke the record, she ran 21.52sec, and then she ran 22.07sec at Warragul over 400m."

Mackenna's blistering Best Of Day display was the December ‘21 daughter of Whiskey Riot and Alcyone's ninth win from 14 starts.

Mackenna was backed as if unbeatable, starting $1.20 from box three, and the money was right as she resumed with an emphatic all-the-way success, defeating Aston Zoom by 3.5 lengths.

Adding further merit to her performance, Group 1 National Futurity finalist Aunt Virginia won the second Matchmakers heat in 25.31sec.

"I'm just glad to get today out of the way," Abela said.

"We knew she was going good, but race day is a different kettle of fish to trialling, so it was good to see her do what she did.

"She'll race in the final next Monday and then go up to Darryl (Thomas) and Michelle (Sultana) in NSW to prepare for the Easter Egg."

Mackenna winning at The Meadows Picture: Jason McKeown

Mackenna burst onto the scene last July, giving Michelle Carruthers a dream introduction to the training ranks.

She won her first six starts, including flying 29.84sec and 29.86sec Meadows victories at just her third and fourth appearances.

At her ninth run, Mackenna upstaged G1 winner Baby Jaycee in a heat of the Million Dollar Chase at Temora, returning to claim the final in near-record time (25.41sec).

She was then catapulted into MDC favouritism after a scintillating 29.32sec first-up trial at Wentworth Park, which saw her start $1.30 in a semi-final.

Mackenna uncharacteristically missed the start, finishing fourth, and soon after was sold for an undisclosed sum to a syndicate headed by Abela kennel client George Alvaro.

"After Mackenna trialled 29.32sec at Wentworth Park, George asked me to try and buy her," Abela explained.

"George and his mates work in the markets in Sydney, so that was the main reason they wanted her.

"George and I both know Lee Moore, Michelle Carruthers' partner. Lee and Michelle were both great to deal with and we got the deal done.

READ: ‘Falling From Trees' Victorian Smashed In MDC

"Michelle actually sent me a text last night, saying they had dogs racing at Shepparton today but they'd be there to watch Mackenna too. Then Michelle came and saw Mackenna after the race. They still want to see her do well and feel part of it.

"The day before I went to pick her up, she came on season.

"We were gutted, because we were talking to a couple of people about The Phoenix and she's missed out on the age classics too.

"George and I decided to give her the whole season off, take our time and be patient with her."

Two heats of the Shepparton Classic, for the males, were also conducted on Monday, going to David Geall's Aston Cornes in 25.12sec and Uriel Bale, trained by Rob Camilleri, in 25.17sec.

The finals of the Matchmakers and Classic, both carrying a $10,000 winner's purse, will be held next Monday afternoon, with Mackenna to exit box four in the Matchmakers.

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