Geoff Barnes' love affair with the late Happy Cat mare Fellamore was enhanced even further after today's (Sunday January 23) Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club's meeting held on the Otaki grass track. The broodmare died in July 2009 but two of her progeny did Barnes proud on today's nine-race programme.
$13.20 shot Fulla Luck easily won the $10,000 2011 Otaki Cup while favourite More Delight finished third in a $6,000 one-win pace. Both pacers are trained by Michelle Wallis at Waiuku.
Fulla Luck, aa 5-year-old gelding, is the sixth foal and most successful out of the mare having won five races and $46,244, while More Delight, a Bettor's Delight filly, is foal number eight. She has only had three starts for a win and a placing.
Victorian-based Barnes and his wife Lorraine, who are known throughout Australasia for their equine semen transporting business, have shares in both pacers with Tim Vince and Wallis. But if Barnes had his way he would have also owned the mare.
"I just loved her and wanted to buy her but she apparently failed a vet test yet later went on to win 46 races and just over $300,000 in the United States. When she came back ‘Down Under' in 1999 I went out of my way to breed from her," Barnes said.
He also admired underrated American stallionand from there the Fulla Luck match was made.
"He never really got the credit he deserved. He was a leading sire in the United States for many years but didn't receive the support he deserved down here. When Fellamore was bought by Woodlands Stud I bought Fulla Luck as a weanling from them.
"I thought he might develop into a useful pacer and he's never really let me down. He used to lead in a lot of his races but these days he's a good sit and sprinter. He's settling a lot better these days. Michelle once said he was the best in her stable.
"I was delighted with his win today considering he won easily in heavy conditions," Barnes, a former state tennis player of some repute, said.
Fulla Luck thrived in the going. He loomed up on the home-turn and left his opposition to it winning untouched by 3-1/2 lengths. His mile rate for the 2600m stand was 2:07.1 with a final 800m sprint of 61.7 seconds.
Cambridge reinsman Todd Mitchell did the driving. They started from a 10m handicap.
Barnes couldn't say what his future racing programme would be but said the bay would not be heading back to Australia with him.
"If he did race back home he would have to race in bigger metropolitan events because he's won too many races here now. I really like him. He's a big horse. He reminds me of his mother and boy did I love her," Barnes said.
LAWSON BOUNCES BACK BIG-TIME
Meanwhile junior driver Simon Lawson is lucky to just be alive let alone steer home four winners over two days at the Otaki meeting.
The Waikato born and educated reinsman won behind My Peruvian on the first day (Friday) and then bagged himself a hatrick today behind Tadita, Cousin Dupreez and Delightful Song in races two, three and five.
Employed by Graeme Rogerson at Tauherinikau, Lawson has now driven 73 winners in just over two seasons - including 11 this year.
But it could have all been very different for the talented 19-year-old.
In early December Lawson spent five days in Waikato Hospital after having one foot (30 centimetres) of his small intestine cut out by doctors.
"I had been suffering from an on-going bowel infection for a couple of years and it had been building up for some time. When I went to see a specialist recently he demanded that I went to hospital to have surgery. If I didn't - in time I would have died," Lawson said.
Lawson now has a huge appreciation of life.
"The two people I was with in hospital had bowel cancer and one of them was told he had just three months to live. I'm so grateful for the life I have. There are a lot of people out there who haven't been as fortunate as me," the brave horseman said.
By Duane RANGER (editor)
Top Driver: Simon Lawson 3 wins.
Top Junior Driver: Simon Lawson 3 wins.
Top Sire:2 wins.
Top Trainer: Nine races and nine winning trainers.
Results from the second day of the Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club's meeting held on the Otaki grass track today in Otaki (Friday January 23) were:
Race 1: The Terry Briskie trained LUCKYTOOBHERE () Josh Dickie.
Race 2: The Eddie Clarke trained TADITA () Simon Lawson.
Race 3: The Stephen Doody trained COUSIN DUPREEZ () Simon Lawson.
Race 4: The Nicky Chilcott trained and driven ALIEN WAITS ().
Race 5: The Graeme Rogerson trained DELIGHTFUL SONG (Bettor's Delight) Simon Lawson.
Race 6: The Peter Scaife trained MATTURITY () Zac Butcher.
Race 7: The Pat and Mike O'Brien trained VEITCHY () Peter Ferguson.
Race 8: The Michelle Wallis trained FULLA LUCK () Todd Mitchell.
Race 9: The Bob Forrester trained POWERTOFLY () Maurice McKendry.
By Duane RANGER (editor)
2011 Otaki Cup