Barastoc Grand Circuit Series
Stories:   Pacers 2008/2009 Season
Leg 1 Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship   2008/2009Results   Points
            18/10/2008  Albion Park, Qld  2138m  Mobile Start  $125,000
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Blacks A Fake, winner of the past three Inter Dominion Championships, delivered a clear message on Saturday night in Brisbane – the gelding has come up better than ever in the manner he won the opening leg of the 2008/2009 Barastoc Grand Circuit – Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship - rating a fast 1:56. 

With main rival Be Good Johnny high-balling it out in front coming to the home turn the last time, for a few moments it appeared the short-priced favourite ($1.50) had left his run too late.  Blacks A Fake (Natalie Rasmussen) then let loose with a remarkable sprint to win from Fleur De Lil (Luke McCarthy) with Iron Hudge NZ (Mark Rolfe) grabbing third. 

To appreciate fully the effort of Australia’s top pacer, the gelding actually made up many metres at the very time the leaders were reeling off a last half-mile in 56.9 seconds, returning two quarters of 28.9 and 28 seconds. It was a spectacular effort, especially considering Blacks A Fake is only working up to towards its best with bigger fish to fry in coming weeks.

Perhaps the opening of the 2008/2009 Barastoc Grand Circuit did not include the best pacers from NSW and Victoria, but anyone who witnessed the awesome last lap by this son of Fake Left USA, will be quick to agree it will take bad luck for it not to become the first horse ever to win four successive Inter Dominion titles.

This event in March will be held in Queensland at the Gold Coast track, a similar circuit to Albion Park.  (The forced move follows a ban being placed on the safety of the Russ Hinze grandstand at Albion Park, with no chance of having this replaced by March.) 

A handy crowd on Saturday night really got their money’s worth with an action-packed Garrards Queensland Championship. 


Blacks A Fake and Natalie Rasmussen head to the finish line to win
the 2008 Queensland Pacing Championship
photo copyright Corey Pearce and used with permission

While Natalie Rasmussen allowed her horse to settle down early back near the rear from its second-row draw, John McCarthy came out with all guns blazing with Be Good Johnny from its wide barrier draw.  Trapped out wide for the first 300 metres or so, McCarthy maintained his desire to make it to the front, finally taking his pacer to the lead with more than 800 metres to travel.  Brad Cowen moved I Am Sam up to lead the outside line. 

If McCarthy thought by leading with speed might catch the short-priced favourite at a disadvantage near the rear with Blacks A Fake not yet at its best, he persisted in the hope such tactics would find a weakness in the preparation of Australia’s undisputed No 1 pacer.  

The fast lead time of 36.6 seconds was followed by the slowest quarter of the last mile with 30.8 seconds.  McCarthy senior then went into overdrive with Johnny Be Good, reeling off the second quarter in 29.9, followed by that last half-mile in a brilliant 56.9. 

Be Good Johnny, himself a good winner on previous Grand Circuits, could not sustain such speed when the favourite ranged up alongside him some 70 metres out.  Blacks A Fake moved past like an assassin who is pleased with it having been a nice clean job.  The second favourite weakened over the final 40 metres to finish 5th

Once again it was a case of Blacks A Fake winning a Group 1 event by only a close margin of 1¼ metres. But this is the way Natalie Rasmussen drives the horse, timing its final burst to get the horse to the front in the shadows of the post. 

The only occasion in the past year on the Barastoc Grand Circuit the son of Fake Left USA had its colours lowered was last season’s Ballarat Cup when a two-horse war with Safari (Brian Gath) brought the Queenslander undone.  Rasmussen later blamed herself for that loss, claiming she had been too easy on the champion leading up to that gruelling race. 

Safari, the main rival for Blacks A Fake, recently went amiss and is unlikely to be seen at the track in coming months. 

Immediately after Saturday night’s victory, Natalie Rasmussen explained she was once again in awe of how her horse had gone. “He was just super tonight, as he is so focussed and determined in his races now, and really enjoying it. 

 “The leaders had gone hard early and I thought they would have to come back to us a little, and I knew ‘Blackie’ would be strong at the finish,” she said. 

“They were coming at us in the straight when he got to the front, but he did it well and actually flicked his ears up just before the line,” she added. 

This Saturday night the champ gets to improve on his already spectacular record of 44 wins from 57 starts and stake earnings of more than $2.96 million with the second leg of the Barastoc Grand Circuit – the $150,000 Trans Tasman, also around Albion Park over an extra 450m.  


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

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