Australasian Grand Circuit
Stories:   Pacers 2005/2006 Season
Leg 10:  Be Active Australian Pacing Championship   2005/2006 Results   Points
               6/01/2006   Gloucester Park, Perth, WA 2143m  Mobile Start  $125,000
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Pat Keating 34, the rookie trainer from Wanneroo who brought Lookslikelightning out of retirement to win four of its seven starts this season, chalked up their biggest success on Friday night in Perth by winning the Be Active Australian Pacing Championship. 

This 7YO gelding, almost lost to Keating when a lucrative offer was made by a NSW father-son combination on the eve of the pacer finishing last in the Miracle Mile to Be Good Johnny, then bounced back to its best in two subsequent outings in Perth before the first of Gloucester Park’s three successive Group 1 races on the Grand Circuit. Lookslikelightning led throughout to beat No Blue Manna and Maheer Lord NZ. 

Everything favoured the gelding with the conditions of the Australian Pacing Championship. It drew to lead from barrier four – the distance of only 2143 metres was expected to suit it better than this week’s Fremantle Cup over 2700 metres – and reinsman Ryan Warwick said last week how the gelding seemed to be better than it was when earlier sent to Sydney. 

This was enough to have punters get solidly behind the Wanneroo pacer to send it out a $3 favourite ahead of Ohoka Ace NZ and Adams Mate. 

The start of the Australian Pacing Championship was held up, firstly by a replacement sulky having to be attached to Maheer Lord NZ, then by No Blue Manna having to leave the track to have its bumper bandages replaced. Then, the starter aborted the first attempt to despatch the field on its way when the deafeners on Maheer Lord NZ were released prematurely. 

On take two, Chris Lewis, driving the smart stayer Ohoka Ace NZ, attempted to hold out the favourite in the dash to the first corner, but did not have the speed upset the fast-beginning Lookslikelightning.  

The moves up behind the leader came thick and fast after that, with firstly Maheer Lord NZ (Colin Brown) moving around to lead the outside line before being given cover when Justin Warwick dashed No Blue Manna to that role. As usual, the tough Flashing Red (Joel Rees) went forward in a hurry from being back near the rear, but did not have the speed to worry either of the two leaders, and was out wide for the remainder of the race, as was Touch Of Pearl. 


Stewards later reported how in the last 400 metres Ohoka Ace NZ, Shardons Aflyin NZ (Grant Williams) and Adams Mate (Fred Kersley) were unable to obtain runs in the tightly-packed field at a time when young Warwick went for home on the favourite. 

Lookslikelightning’s victory was virtually sealed when allowed to get away with a 32.1 slow quarter mid-race. The early speed and a fast last lap enabled the winner to rate a smart 1:57.7 for the 2143 metres.  

The much-travelled South Australian Touch Of Pearl, a winner of both its two starts since a spell, knocked up in the home straight with trainer-driver Gary Butler leading the horse back to the enclosure. A veterinary inspection failed to find any serious problem, other than it being slightly sore in the near fore leg. A veterinary certificate will be needed for the horse to race again during the Perth carnival. 

At the presentation, driver Warwick said he had to thank Pat Keating and Lookslikelightning for carrying him on a wave that has not ended yet. “It has been a great six weeks, and even though we did not take out the Miracle Mile, we still finished in front. I reckon Pat deserves credit for having the guts to take this horse all the way to Sydney.” 

It is history now how Lookslikelightning was engaged in a speed battle with Lance Justice (Sokyola NZ) in Australia’s premier sprint when the pacer from the west had been sent out the favourite. It weakened to finish last. However, a week earlier it had turned in one of the fastest ever wins in Australian harness racing when pacing brilliantly at Harold Park. 

Keating is expected to start Lookslikelightning in the Fremantle Cup this week, though Ohoka Ace NZ is certain to have many supporters who believe this grinding stayer will be much better suited by the longer trip. This Andrew De Campo-trained 6YO son of Sokys Atom USA has won 19 races with 25 placings from its 69 starts. 

Both Maheer Lord NZ and No Blue Manna turned in solid efforts and will also be suited by the staying test this week, while Shardons Aflyin NZ had no luck on Friday night. 

Had the offer made to purchase Lookslikelightning just prior to the Miracle Mile been accepted, the prospective owners said they would have taken the gelding off Keating and given it to NSW horseman Brian Hancock.  

Prior to the gelding’s great performances in the past six weeks, its previous biggest win had been the $20,000 Winter Championship back in July. Still, the horse has now won more than $380,000, with much of this coming since Keating brought the gelding out of retirement. 


All Time Pacing and Trotting Records pre-2001 please refer to the Australian Harness Racing Annual.

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