By Duane Ranger
The owners of ‘Trot Rods Queen’, With The Band, had high praise for the inaugural 947 metre mobile speed concept, and handed out big praise to more than just trainer Donny Smith and driver Paul Diebert.
Tumby Park’s Scott Whitton and Jodie Foster said it was just a case of Racing Queensland again going outside the box to promote harness racing in the Sunshine State.
“I was chomping at the bit on Sunday, we would have made it a family day out if we were allowed on track - my whole family wanted to be there,” Whitton said.
“It looked awesome, it was fantastic TV and it would have been so much better just being on track, but the club have done a great job to get it up and running.
“When non-racing people tell me they wanted to be there then someone is doing something right - well done Racing Queensland and Redcliffe Paceway.”
The New South Wales horseman, who has been a big supporter of Queensland harness racing for several years now, said RQ was by far the most co-operative State Body he had dealt with.
“That’s why I do most of my racing in Queensland; the Harness Operations team are always so good to talk to - they always listen and act,” Whitton said.
“The other day for example I asked the team about one of my horses, and he did his homework and before long he had programmed a race for it.
“They listen and that’s just one of many examples why I will continue to race in Queensland.
“As well as all the breeding bonuses, there are also some nice races and stakes out there.
“They are doing a great job, and I believe harness racing in Queensland is in great stead and couldn’t be in a better spot.
“There’s no comparison between Racing Queensland and the other States.”
The 39-year-old said he liked to buy horses from New Zealand in the $20,000 to $25,000 range, and With The Band was a $15,000 purchase from the Leo O’Reilly stable in Canterbury.
She was bred by Studholme Bloodstock, the same stud farm that produced Lazarus, who won the 2016 and 2017 New Zealand Cups by 10 and six lengths respectively.
She’s proved to be a very nice purchase, and Donny already rates her one of the better pacers at his Redcliffe barn.
With The Band dramatically recorded the fastest time of the 16 heats in the very last qualifier of the Series on Sunday.
Her sizzling time of 64.77 was half- a-second quicker than what the Ricky Gordon-trained and Narissa McMullen driven Risky Buziness recorded in the opening heat of the night.
The five-year-old Changeover x Flashbang (McArdle) mare, who drew one, won by an increasing 9.4 metres.
“We did our homework when we bought her from New Zealand, and Donny already rates her one of the best in her stable,” Whitton said.
“We bought her in December and Donny said she has thrived in Queensland, she has also taken to the way Donny goes about things.
“That was her eighth start here and she’s won six of them and she also won last start in New Zealand, which convinced me to buy her - she’s won nine all-up now.
“I can’t speak highly enough of what Donny’s done for her, and as for Paul Diebert’s drive, that was superb.”