Day At The Track

Excitement ensured a really 'Feelgood' night

04:30 AM 28 Oct 2011 NZDT
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 Mr Feelgood
Albion Park Harness Racing Club
Mr Feelgood - a globetrotting standardbred star.

The drawcard of some of Australia's best pacers and a clever balance of advertising and promotion saw a bumper harness racing crowd cheer Mr Feelgood (Grinfromeartoear USA) to victory in the $200,000 Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship (QPC) at Albion Park last Saturday night (October 22).

Patrons lapped up the on course entertainment of live music, mock casino fun night with raffles and the presence of bookmaker Vince Aspinall while the kids joined in the 'Barnyard Babies' animal farm. For many, the atmosphere revived memories of the glory days of harness racing and as Garrards QPC runners entered the enclosure, fans lined the parade ring to check out the real stars of the night.

The icing on the cake was a home town victory to Mr Feelgood, driven by "adopted Queenslander", Luke McCarthy and the shouting of the bar by very excited owners, Kevin and Kay Seymour. Congratulations also extend to part owners Peter and Zilla O'Shea who had to cancel their trip to Queensland at the last minute.

The first Group One of the season was a race of tactics and all honours went to Mr Feelgood and McCarthy who surprised some by allowing Smoken Up (Tinted Cloud USA) to lead easily but out-sprint the Victorian champ in a blistering final half of 55.8 seconds. New South Wales pacer Hesa Buzzin (Walton Hanover USA) confirmed he will be a force in the longer feature races later this season by finishing strongly for third.

John McCarthy who prepared the winner and drove fourth placegetter, Washakie (Badlands Hanover USA) will now send both of his stars south to Luke's stable in a hope both may qualify for the Miracle Mile next month.

Smoken Up's trainer and driver Lance Justice was obviously disappointed with his champion but gave all accolades to Mr Feelgood. " He's a very good horse and deserved his win tonight. However I don't think Queenslanders saw the best of Smoken Up."

Jim Douglass, who drove the third placegetter was thrilled with the performance of Hesa Buzzin. " We will go home and look at the Newcastle Mile but this horse will best be suited by the longer races in Victoria over the next few weeks."

Fast times were the order of the night in the earlier races. Former New South wales pacer Extreme Stature (Stature USA) clocked a mile in 1.55.2 to win the first for inform trainer/ driver team of Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham while up and coming reinsman Hayden Green got the best out of Jaccka Limon (Union Guy USA) who won the third in 1.56.7.

Tamborine trainer Shawn Grimsey was all smiles when his 6yo Pacific Cruza (Pacific Fella USA) put up a herculean performance to win the $20,000 Zilco Harness M0 Series Final. Facing the breeze for the majority of the race and running a middle half of 57.4, Pacific Cruza crushed his rival in a twelve metre victory and recorded a smart mile rate of 1.57.3 for the 2138m journey.

Jennas Beach Boy (USA) gelding, Lebron, was the horse to follow from the meeting when he led all the way in a fast 1.56.2 under control of Dean Belford. While the gelding recored only his ninth win from sixty-four starts, the Brian McCall trained pacer appears to be in career-best form and is capable of winning in higher grade.

On course and off, a great night was had by all and a buzz emanated from Albion Park.

By Damian COURTNEY

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