Mighty Drive Claims Cup

12 March 2011 | Chris Barsby
Dream Team; Themightyquinn has snared another Barastoc Grand Circuit feature for father/son combination of Gary & Gary Jnr. Hall

Dream Team; Themightyquinn has snared another Barastoc Grand Circuit feature for father/son combination of Gary & Gary Jnr. Hall

Let the 2011 Inter Dominion series begin.

The stage has been set after a thrilling finish in tonight's (Friday) Gr.1 $NZ 400,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park when Themightyquinn edged out fellow Australian trained rival Mr Feelgood.

The two Australian trained pacers boast the hottest form currently in the Grand Circuit arena and confirmed their status as the Inter Dominion series heavyweights which begins on March 25.

The Gary Hall trained pacer began well from his second line draw and quickly worked away from the inside as Washakie also pushed off from the inside.

Auckland Reactor showed strong early speed and quickly worked his way to the front with Pembrook Benny capitalising on a perfect trip after Washakie sat midfield in the running line.

Former North American pacer Mr Feelgood quickly circled three-wide to gain a more prominent position but as he made his move, Gary Hall Jnr. improved sharply with Themightyquinn before taking cover on Mr Feelgood.

The early move by Hall Jnr. proved to be a master-stroke.

Positional changes were non-existent as Auckland Reactor rolled along at a solid tempo with Mr Feelgood sitting without cover, Pembrook Benny secured a economic trip behind the leader whilst race favourite Themightyquinn was perfectly positioned in the one out-one back trail.

The first move came from Power Of Tara with 1100m remaining, defending champion Monkey King was always well back as was the well-supported mare De Lovely.

Entering the back straight on the final occasion, Auckland Reactor was tested by Mr Feelgood who applied strong pressure.

As the Cup field straightened, Mr Feelgood quickly got the upper hand from a clearly distressed Auckland Reactor but Themightyquinn was looming big danger.

Themightyquinn quickly raced to the front but Mr Feelgood kept fighting bravely all the way to the finish but the half length margin was enough to secure victory whilst Pembrook Benny took inside runs to finish third.

Since being converted to mobile start conditions back in 2007, the time of 3.16.7 easily eclipsed the previous best mark of 3.17.2 which was held by Flashing Red.

The last half was covered in 55.6 with the final quarter timed in 27.8 seconds.

“This is amazing, I'm quite emotional,” trainer Gary Hall declared immediately after the event.

“I'm so proud of Jnr. and the horse, there is so much responsibility when you campaign a horse away from home but Jnr. has done a remarkable job since he's been here,”

“He's thriving and we've given ourself a great chance with the Inter Dominion series starting in two weeks.”

The father/son combination were full of praise for the runner-up Mr Feelgood and clearly rate him as the biggest threat for the up-coming series.

“He went huge Mr Feelgood, he should be favourite for the Inter, Luke is a great trainer/driver and he will only get better for the experience because that was his first start in the clockwise direction,”

“He's a high quality pacer and a deserving favourite in our eyes, he certainly has our attention.”

The victory of Themightyquinn shoots him to a clear lead at the top of the Barastoc Grand Circuit leaderboard with 17 points, tough Victorian pacer Smoken Up is second with 13 points.

Themightyquinn has now collected the WA and Fremantle Cups plus tonight's Auckland Cup whilst connections also collected the Gr.1 $100,000 Cranbourne Cup earlier this season.

The final leg of the Barastoc Pacers Grand Circuit season ends with the Inter Dominion Grand Final on April 8.