Happy connections of champion pacer, Im Themightyquinn after his brilliant victory in Friday night's Mount Eden Sprint at Gloucester Park. Photo by William Crabb.
Superstar Im Themightyquinn reappeared after an absence of almost eight months in spectacular fashion when he gave one of his greatest performances to come from last at the bell and win the $50,000 Find Thirty Everyday Mount Eden Sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Im Themightyquinn, having his first start since his magnificent victory in the interdominion championship final at Gloucester Park on March 2 and after recovering from the effects of an atrial fibrillation about three months ago, looked to be in grave danger of defeat when he was racing in last position in the field of nine after outsider Eastwood Fire had set a dawdling pace, strolling through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 29.5sec. and 30.6sec.
But the champion eight-year-old responded in superb style and unleashed a typical whirlwind finish to win decisively from Eastwood Fire and Saucy Legend at a 1.54.6 rate.
Im Themightyquinn, last year’s winner at a 1.53.6 rate, became only the second horse in 58 years to win the event (formerly known as the State Sprint Championship) twice. The previous dual winner was Kolworth, who was successful in 1961 and 1963.
“He’s just a freak,” said admiring reinsman Gary Hall jun. “I used to think I had something to do with the way he went. But it turns out that I had nothing to do with it at all. I just have to pull him out and let him go.
“That was unreal, really. He always does things that never cease to amaze you. They hadn’t gone overly hard and he was a long way from the leader and I couldn’t see him winning from where he was. I nearly made a move coming into the bell, but being first-up I waited for another 100m.
“And then he did it so easily and that’s probably as good as he has ever felt. I didn’t even pull the ear plugs. He’s a freak and we’ll probably have to wait a long time to see a horse like him. I’m just lucky enough to sit behind him.”
At the bell Colin Brown had Eastwood Fire pacing stylishly in front, with Dasher VC (4/1) working hard in the breeze and 94/1 chance Saucy Legend, a stablemate of the winner, on the pegs behind the pacemaker. Mysta Magical Mach was out three wide in fourth place and he was followed in the three-wide line by Lombo Navigator and Im Themightyquinn.
Hall, getting anxious, switched Im Themightyquinn four wide passing the 650m mark and the New Zealand-bred gelding sprinted powerfully to get on terms with Eastwood Fire 250m from home before getting the upper hand 130m from the post. He dashed over the final quarters in 27.8sec. and 27.3sec.
This gave trainer Gary Hall sen. and his son their fourth success in the Mount Eden Sprint, following victories with Bengeeman (2002), The Falcon Strike (2006) and Im Themightyquinn (2011).
Im Themightyquinn, favourite at 7/4 on, is unbeaten at his past seven starts and now he has amassed $3,326,106 from 40 wins and 27 placings from 85 starts. Hall sen. will now set him for the $400,000 Victoria Cup on December 15 before bringing him back to Perth to contest the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup in January. Im Themightyquinn will not contest the Cranbourne Cup before running in the Victoria Cup.