Jimmy Johnstone has landed on the open class scene with a bang, after taking out yesterdays $35,000 Methven Cup (Gr3) at Mt Harding Racecourse.
The lightly raced five-year-old, who was superbly driven by trainer-driver John Hay, settled one-one early doors before working to the front and subsequently landing the trail behind Pass Them By. He then emerged in the home straight to narrowly down last year’s winner Fly Like An Eagle, who was super in defeat after being trapped wide on a hot last 800 metres of 56.6.
Sleepy Tripp was also good in third, while Pass Them By and Four Starzzz Flash dead heated for fourth.
Jimmy Johnstone, a son of P-Forty-Seven, was second up after a fresh-up eighth at Addington last week. Last season he was successful in the Southern Country Cups Final as well as the Winton and Gore Cup.
Jimmy Johnstone is currently paying $51 for a win and $15 for a place in the futures market for the New Zealand Cup. He was ranked 29th when the last official Cup rankings were released, but yesterday’s win is sure to see him leapfrog many of his opposition.
He is owned by J K McRae, A J O'Donnell, Mrs D J G McRae and Miss I M Lee, and is now verging on $100,000 in stakes.
Meanwhile, the feature trot for the day, the $13,000 Pegasus Spur Trotbred Fillies & Mares Handicap Trot, was taken out by Mamselle, who broke through for her fifth win after a string of minor places.
Co-trainer and owner Leonne Jones said the Continentalman granddaughter of top mare Tussle is likely to be breed from this season but will carry on racing while in foal.
“We will see if she can’t pick up another race or two while in foal,” said Jones. “She is booked to Majestic Son,” she added.
The win edged Mamselle’s stake earnings over the $50,000 mark.
By Mitchell Robertson