He Came, he saw, he conquered! The opening night of the 2014 Queensland harness racing winter carnival belonged to champion pacer Im Themightyquinn who scorched around the Albion Park oval in a stunning time of 1;50.5 defeating Mach Beauty and Avonnova in the Gr.2 $60,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint.
It was a track record performance that eclipsed the previous mark of 1;51.8 set by Stuey Lombo when successful in the same race twelve months earlier.
In front of a massive crowd, the Gary Hall trained megastar thrilled racing fans of all ages with his trademark dazzling speed and brilliance with a commanding performance.
Handled perfectly by Gary Hall Jnr, the $4.46 million earner pushed forward immediately at the start and took up a position on the outside of Mach Beauty before landing the perfect one-one trail on the back of Avonnova.
The first half was tripped in 56.3 seconds with splits of 28 and 28.3 seconds.
With Mach Beauty rolling at a strong speed and Avonnova working hard without cover, Im Themightyquinn stalked the leaders and loomed big danger heading off the back straight.
The third quarter was clocked in a lung busting 26.5 seconds and Hall Jnr quickly set upon the leaders with a sweeping three-wide move.
In the straight, Im Themightyquinn proved too strong for a gallant Mach Beauty with Avonnova fighting hard for third.
The last quarter was recorded in 27.9 seconds.
“I love this horse; he’s a champion and he proved his greatness yet again aided by another great drive by Jnr. I’m so happy we made the trip to Brisbane and this is a fantastic result for harness racing, it’s great to see so many people come and cheer this horse on.” An emotional Hall said.
It was career victory number 57 for the rising ten-year-old gelding.
The Gr.3 $45,000 Futurity was dominated by race favourite Bling It On who scored comfortably from Alleluia and Diamond Ace in a time of 1;58.3 for the 2138m event.
The Luke and Belinda McCarthy prepared colt remains unbeaten in Queensland and will back-up next week in the Gr.3 $30,000 TattsBet Gold Coast Derby before contesting the Gr.1 $100,000 on July 19.
Bling It On
In the $15,000 Nickys Falcon Claiming Series Final, Franco Bulgari sprintlaned to victory defeating My Elusive Dream and Wilusi Blues.
Franco Bulgari is prepared by Queensland rising star Narissa McMullen who owns, trains and drives the veteran pacer.
Other star performers on the night included Fearless Leader who smashed the 2138m track record with a powerful front-running performance in a time of 1;54.2 for the 2138m journey, eclipsing the previous mark of 1;54.4 which was held by Avonnova while star filly Nike Franco scored a brilliant come from behind victory in the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Pace.
Next week, the Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Oaks is the feature while the Gr.3 $45,000 4 & 5yo Championship, the Gr.3 $30,000 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes and the Gr.3 $30,000 Gold Coast Derby, the $20,000 Country Cup Final will also be staged.
By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)