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Hutchinson tackling Queensland's big guns

By Duane Ranger

Jonah Hutchinson can ride ‘em, drive ‘em, and tackle ‘em.

The talented teenager has excelled at rodeo, harness racing and rugby league. He’s ridden angry bucking bulls at rodeos at from Bowral, to Yatala, Toowoomba, and Warwick.

And thanks to natural rugby league ability, and family contacts in the United States, Hutchinson has played top level rugby league (hooker and half-back) in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

But it is in Brisbane where he gets his greatest kicks – and it was in that city on Tuesday afternoon that the multi-talented 19-year-old experienced one of his happiest sporting moments.

At 3.15pm the Brisbane-born and Beenleigh (Trinity College) educated reinsman year-old nailed his second win at Queensland harness racing headquarters behind the Mal Charlton trained Always at Night.

It was race six – the $5,310 Mr Feelgood At Egmont Park Stud C1 Pace over the 2138m mobile. They won by 2.2 metres with a 1:59.9 mile rate.

“I’ve always loved harness racing. I’ve know Leonard Cain since Grade Three, and he got me into it. My only other winner was at Albion Park two Januarys ago behind the Grant Dixon trained Jessica Amber,” Hutchinson said.

“I would have probably chosen harness racing over the other two, even if I didn’t get injured.”

Two shoulder reconstructions within a couple of weeks of each other put paid to any thoughts of a return to the rodeo or league circuits.

“I’ve got a heap of screws in my shoulder and a lot of fake muscle, but it doesn’t affect my driving. The injury has healed now and I’m totally in control in the sulky," he said.

“I don’t even think about it. It no longer fazes me. I’m just not up to the physical combat of bull-riding or footy any more.

“But you can’t beat that winning feeling that harness racing gives. I really enjoyed that drive. I want to make a career out of this sport. I love it."

Hutchinson got Jessica Amber up at odds of $27.30 back on January 30, 2018. Yesterday he and Always At Night were the $4.20 second favourites.

It was the five-year-old Always A Virgin brown gelding's sixth win in 54 starts. He's also placed 12 times and won $31,245 in stakes.

The concession, claimer driver said he was grateful to Charlton for the drive. He also paid a respect to all the horsemen and women who had guided his brief career to date.

“I’ve worked for Gary Bond, Shane Graham, and Grant Dixon and now I’m working for Leonard’s Dad (Errol Cain) at Logan Village," he said.

“I’m really enjoying it there. I know the family well and with Leonard leaving for Sydney soon there could be a few more driving opportunities."

Hutchinson has four drives at Redcliffe Paceway this week.

He will steered last start winner, the Ron Wells trained Donny Jones from gate two in the first race at Redcliffe last night.

Today he will get behind the mare he trains in race one - Torque To The Max (9); the Errol Cain trained Modern Thought (9) in race two; and the Bianca Hooper trained The Gun Rockstar (8) in the eighth event.