Inter Dominion Hall of Fame
photo by William Crabb

Love Sign (NZ)
Love Sign (NZ)

Washington VC USA
Washington VC USA

2011 Auckland Cup win
2011 Auckland Cup win
Alexandra Park, NZ 11/03/2011
copyright © Sharlene Mitchell and used with permission

2012 WA Pacing Cup
2012 WA Pacing Cup
Gloucester Park, WA 13/02/2012
photo by William Crabb

Inter Dominion win
Gary Hall (Jnr) salutes – 2012 Inter Dominion win ahead of Mysta Magical Mach NZ, Gloucester Park, WA 02/03/2012
photo by William Crabb

Parading after the 2012 Inter Dominion
Parading after the 2012 Inter Dominion presentations, Gloucester Park
photo by William Crabb

Glen Moore and Mark Congerton
2012 Australian Harness Horse of the Year - Award - part-owners Glen Moore and Mark Congerton
photo by William Crabb

Connections of Im Themightyquinn NZ
Connections of Im Themightyquinn NZ after his win in the 2013 WA Pacing Cup Gloucester Park, WA 11/01/2013
photo by William Crabb

Inter Win number 3
Inter Win number 3 - 2013 Inter Dominion, Tabcorp Menangle, NSW 3/03/2013
copyright © Gary Wild

Gary Hall Snr and Jnr
Gary Hall Snr and Jnr With 2013 Inter Dominion trophy
copyright © Gary Wild

Geoff Want presents part-owner
HRA Chairman, Geoff Want, presents part-owner Glen Moore with a trophy marking Im Themightyquinn's induction to the Inter Dominion Hall Of Fame, March 2013
photo courtesy NSW Harness Racing Club

Im Themightyquinn's track record in the 2014 Sunshine Sprint has been memorialised in Albion Park's running rail
Im Themightyquinn's track record in the 2014 Sunshine Sprint has been memorialised in Albion Park's running rail
photo courtesy Gary Hall Jnr

A win for his final race - The Blacks A Fake, Albion Park, 19/07/2014
A win for his final race - The Blacks A Fake, Albion Park, 19/07/2014
photo courtesy Dan Costello
used with permission

Fred Kersley and Im Themightyquinn take on Gary Hall Jnr and Alta Christiano in an exhibition pace, Gloucester Park 11/04/2014
photo courtesy Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Fred Kersley and Im Themightyquinn
photo courtesy Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Fans farewell Im Themightyquinn at his final parade, Gloucester Park 16/01/2015
photo courtesy Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Commemoration poster signed by Gary Hall Jnr and Gary Hall Snr on the occasion of Im Themightyquinn's final appearance - Gloucester Park 16/01/15
photo courtesy Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Inter Win number 3

Inter Win number 3

(P.2,2:00.9MS; 3, 1:55.9MS, 1:50.4MS)

The quirkiness of the following announcement on 14 March 2012 escaped few people involved in Harness Racing – “The appeal against Victorian Harness Racing driver and trainer Lance Justice v New Zealand Racing Integrity Unit has resulted in the charge, penalty and costs are all dismissed. The Appeals Tribunal, chaired by The Hon Sir John Hansen KNZM, upheld the earlier decision made by the Judicial Committee that; the horse named "Smoken Up" be disqualified from Race 8 of the Inter-Dominion Pacing Grand Final, Mr Justice fined $3,500 and costs awarded to the Racing Integrity Unit and Judicial Control Authority of $16,425 and $16,104 respectively.”

As a result of the vagaries of the New Zealand Judicial system and the above decision, Im Themightyquinn was officially crowned for his first Inter Dominion victory in New Zealand some ten days after winning his second across the Tasman in Australia (at Gloucester Park). As an aside it also confirmed Blacks A Fake’s remarkable Inter Dominion record in six Inter Dominion attempts as four wins and two second place finishes.

On March 2nd 2012 Im Themightyquinn had unleashed his trademark sprint from what appeared to some as a near hopeless position in the last lap to totally demoralize his opposition and win the 2012 V75 Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final for the father-son team of Gary Hall (trainer) and Gary Hall (driver).

There are many possible starting points for the remarkable story of Im Themightyquinn and one has to be his name. Many baby boomers in both New Zealand and Australia were fans of Manfred Mann’s 1968 hit “Quinn The Eskimo,” the lyrics of which were penned by Bob Dylan, and so liked by harness racing enthusiasts from both countries that a similarly named horse was registered in each. That means Im Themightyquinn has a slightly different name depending on which side of the Tasman he is racing.

The Australian standardbred, The Mighty Quinn, appeared first; he was a 1988 gelding by Dundee Butler from Frances Innes that represented the true essence of a racetrack battler winning just one of 67 lifetime starts over seven seasons of racing. The career of his later born New Zealand counterpart, Themightyquinn (2004), is quite a contrast, but one should really first look at his pedigree before studying his racetrack achievements and his owners.

His sire Washington VC USA (by $3m earner Presidential Ball USA) had established himself as the leader of the second tier of stallions below the top echelon with several classy performers. These included Foreal, Its Ella and Matai BBC from his first crop, Report For Duty and Dereks Pick from his second as well as Georgetown, who was from the same crop as Themightyquinn.

Themightyquinn was originally sold as a weanling for $2,500 (2005) and was subsequently entered for the 2006 Premier Sale but was withdrawn and that would no doubt have been because of the non commercial appeal of the yearling. He was small in stature, and his dam Love Sign had produced four previous foals who had raced a cumulative total of seventeen times and earned the princely sum of $1,365.

Love Sign, who raced but once for a 13th place, had been yet another product of the expansive National Bloodstock portfolio with Howick Jewellery selling her to Otago breeder Dave Kennedy in 2000 for $7,000. Even Precious, the dam of Love Sign, was not wanted by National Bloodstock and was sold off to Mary Helen Pearce (Eldarin Park) and Renown trophy man John Hawke. She eventually left five winners from 11 foals, the richest being Excitable 1:58.3 ($118,545) who compiled his record from a remarkable 265 starts.

One could see why National Bloodstock had been interested in Love Sign. Her dam Very Happy Poplar was bred 3X3 to Nibble Hanover and had previously left the exciting juvenile Our New Life and Cash Asset, the dam of the classy performer Mighty Khan 1:51.6 ($365,778).

Inbreeding such as that to Nibble Hanover is the hallmark of so many champion performers and can often be found as the spark that ignited many of the world’s great maternal families and Themightyquinn’s is no different.

The 2011 and 2012 Inter Dominion champion traces to Morning Glow, a mare by Our Thorpe (OYM – Lady Thorpe by Young Irvington) from Dusky Morn by Young Irvington from a mare by the Australian bred founding father Rothschild. Thus Morning Glow is bred 3X2 to Young Irvington, New Zealand’s first naturally bred pacer who never wore a boot or hopple as he proved himself at FFA level.

Our Thorpe (NZ FFA) was by the Australian bred OYM, whose parents both held the Australian mile record at one time – Osterley (sire) the trotting record while Mystery (dam) was Australasia’s first official 2:30.0 pacer. OYM, along with fellow Australian breds Rothschild, Blue Mountain King, Man o War and Happy Voyage were integral to the development of the New Zealand Standardbred.

After Themightyquinn was withdrawn prior to sale day in 2006, an interested Peter Bagrie sought him out as he had raced the close relative and similar sized Mighty Khan and was impressed with what he saw. He duly purchased the Washington VC yearling for $13,000.

Peter recalled years later, "I went and had a drive and he bowled around real nice after only being in the cart a day or two. He reminded me a lot of Mighty Khan – not big but very light on his feet, athletic and willing."

Themightyquinn was unfortunate to be born the same season as three outstanding juveniles in Auckland Reactor, Fiery Falcon and Ohoka Arizona. Had that not been the case he would have won several races rather than just one, with two placings, in his initial season on the track (2007).

At three he managed a victory over Fiery Falcon in the Northern Stakes but then ran into an Auckland Reactor road block in major 3YO features such as the NZ Derby and NZ Flying. His three–year–old season closed with a third in the 2008 Harness Jewels at Cambridge and almost at once he was a target for Australian buyers; Bagrie was realistic enough to foresee that Auckland Reactor would stymie his steed’s earnings at four years in New Zealand.

WA trainer Greg Harper had rejected him because he was too small; however, agents Peter Blanchard and Frank Rinaldi convinced the Hall camp to outlay $180,000 to acquire the 3YO colt whose quick acceleration was thought to become a major factor around Gloucester Park. Then came the name change to Im Themightyquinn for Australian racing and the task to complete an ownership group.

Im Themightyquinn is raced by Karen Hall in partnership with Beth Richardson, Glen Moore, Gary Ralston, Mark Congerton, Joe Barber and Henry McManus. The story of how the seven came together was delightfully told by Ken Casellas in the official 2012 Inter Dominion Souvenir that doubled as the January/February issue of Australia’s award winning Harness Racing International.

They come from vastly varied backgrounds, with several being experienced industry participants with some notable successes, usually with trainer Gary Hall. Businessman Gary Rolston shared in Tealsby Karita ($374,065) as did Glen Moore whose first major winner was Zakara ($477,488). Beth Richardson and husband John bred Fac Et Spiro ($386,695) – named for the family motto which translates as Do and Hope, while real estate entrepreneur Mark Congerton trained and drove in Africa and Australia before setting up Lancaster Park breeding establishment. His long-time friends Joe Barber and Henry McManus have been involved with standardbreds for some time.

A more unusual story is Karen Hall’s, wife of the gelding’s trainer Gary Hall senior. Her interest in horses is quite recent, and Im Themightyquinn is her first investment. A chance phone call to G. Hall in 2006 led to her joining Hall’s Hazelmere stable for a career changing experience that led to a courtship and marriage in 2008, just after the future champion pacer arrived, and began his assault on Group 1 and Group 2 feature races.

As a four–year–old, he won $262,780 with eight wins from 16 starts. His Group 1 performances were noted – Golden Nuggett 4YO (3rd), the McInerney Classic 4YO (1st), Fremantle Cup (3rd), WA Pacing Cup (6th) – plus a WA Winter Cup win before going east to tackle Australiaís richest 4YO event, the Chariots Of Fire (Group 1). He finished second to Maffioso who needed a once in a lifetime performance to defeat the Perth based contender.

The following season,2009/10, the aim was to test the Grand Circuit level at home and in Victoria. He won the Fremantle Cup before recording seconds in the Australian Pacing Championship (to Has The Answers) and the W.A. Pacing Cup (to Washakie).

It was, however, his amazing effort in the 2010 AG Hunter Cup that announced Im Themightyquinn to the world and transformed doubters into believers. Second last on the final turn, five horses back on the fence in a 15 horse field, Im Themightyquinn unleashed his legendary sprint to finish third, beaten 4.6 metres, leaving pacers of the ilk of Smoken Up, Mr Feelgood and Washakie in his wake.

Youtube has the video of the last lap with the caption ”Im Themightyquinn has possibly the fastest sprint in Australasia when saved for the one sprint.“ Click here to view race

He captured four Cup wins in 2010/11 – Bunbury, Cranbourne, Fremantle and WA Pacing – but was beaten into third place in both the Victoria Cup (Stunin Cullen) and the Hunter Cup (Mr Feelgood). However, he doubled his Australian earnings with an extra $334,735 and reinforced Gary Hall (Snr) as the State’s second highest stakes money trainer for the season.

Impressive performances in New Zealand further enhanced his reputation. The 2011 Auckland Cup was won over Mr Feelgood in fantastic time – 1:57.2 rate for 2,700 metres – and that victory immediately elevated Im Themightyquinn to 3/1 favouritism for the upcoming Inter Dominion, which was notable for two reasons. It was held at Alexandra Park after being transferred from Christchurch due to the devastating earthquakes that city suffered, and the initial winner Smoken Up was reported for a positive swab.

Im Themightyquinn swept through the preliminary Series unbeaten, with heat wins against challengers including Monkey King, Washakie, Blacks A Fake and Mr Feelgood. Whilst finishing runner-up in the Final, he was promoted to winner some twelve months later by dint of the Appeals Tribunal decision to disqualify Smoken Up. He was also crowned Grand Circuit Champion 2011 (with 22 points and $1.188m prize-money), and retrospectively Australian Harness Horse of the Year (2011).

After a six months’ break to recover from a minor virus, the 2011/12 season began favourably with three straight wins in Perth, and a new Best Mile Rate of 1:53.5, but it was not without some hiccups. His eastern seaboard trip to Victoria and NSW netted lesser results – the pacer became severely dehydrated causing unexpected losses in the Miracle Mile, the Popular Alm FFA, and a lacklustre 12th in the Victoria Cup after struggling in the last lap.

A return to Perth brought a change of fortune, and “Quinny” recorded eleven straight wins at his home track (Gloucester Park) over the next year. Early highlights included the WA Pacing Cup (Group 1) and the Fremantle Cup (Group 1), when he raced three and four wide around the field to score by nine metres, and set a record time (1:56.5) for the 2906m event to become the first horse to take the win three times.

Then came three favourable heats of the Inter Dominion and the 71st Pacing Grand Final (Group 1). He remained unbeaten in all his ID Series contests – four in 2011, and three in 2012 – and won the Final with a trademark sizzling burst to come from a seemingly hopeless position to snatch victory in the $1 million event.

There was drama associated with the superb victory although the general public would have been unaware. Trainer Gary Hall Snr was dismayed when he discovered a listless Im Themightyquinn in his stall at his Hazelmere stables some thirty-six hours before the race. The gelding had his head slumped between his legs and was suffering from a fever - running a high temperature of 38.9 degrees. After blood tests, the vet advised that there was a 50-50 chance of running, explaining that sometimes horses were able to recover from this type of problem within 12 hours. By Friday morning the horse had noticeably improved and his temperature had dropped to 36 degrees. “We found that he had eaten up all his feed,” Hall said. “He had recovered. I donít know how he did it, but thank God he did.”

The race itself also had some dramatic moments, and driver Gary Hall Jnr had to call on his ice-cool temperament to bring Im Themightyquinn to victory after an explosive start to the contest. Leading contenders Smoken Up and Mr Feelgood both galloped early after contact, when Smoken Up raced fiercely after being inconvenienced by his new American-style sulky. Luckily, Hall had eased Im Themightyquinn from barrier seven back to the rear and the early unexpected development had him contemplating his tactics. He quickly decided to stick to his plan “to save him for one last burst” as that was the proven best way to drive him.

However, his father and the majority of the big crowd of more than 15,000 were on tenterhooks and gave Im Themightyquinn little hope when he was still back in eighth position with only 350 metres to travel, just after Hall had switched the gelding three and four wide for a final charge. After being held down the home straight by Mysta Magical Mach, the champion made a desperate lunge to get to the front in the final 20 metres to score by a half-length, from Mysta Magical Mach and a fast finishing Lombo Navigator. The winner rated 1:57.6 over the 2,506m journey, and Hall Jnr commented “he dug deep and it’s just overwhelming.”

That performance earned the 5/4 on favourite another break from racing, and he finished the season with an impressive 9 wins plus 3 placings from 13 starts, taking some $1.25m. in prize-money. He also won several prestigious Australian industry awards: 2012 Harness Horse of the Year; Pacer of the Year and Aged Horse/Gelding. The State’s top title was his as well, while both trainer and driver featured in their respective National Top 10 list, and both took line honours in their State.

Midway through the break, an atrial fibrillation attack during a trial meant “Quinny” missed the NZ Cup, and it was not until October 2012 that he resumed racing. His comeback performance in the Mount Eden Sprint was a typical whirlwind finish to win from last at the bell, and set a record as the first dual winner of the 40 year old race. The next victory - an effortless win in the Parliamentarians’ Cup – was his 15th consecutive at Gloucester Park over two years, and equalled former champion Village Kid’s feat at the same track. His driver declared “he has come back better, and heís definitely stronger”.

Preparations for the 2013 Inter Dominion continued with a trip across the Nullabor Plain to contest the Victoria Cup and breakthrough for his maiden win at the Melton track. Unfortunately, an ideal draw did not prove helpful, with a burn off at the start and a brutal contest seeing “Quinny” beaten into third place by Caribbean Blaster and Mah Sish. He made amends by taking out the WA Pacing Cup (Group 1) for the third time, but followed that with two uncharacteristic second placings (Fremantle Cup (Group 1) and Lord Mayors Cup (Group 3) in early February.

Undeterred, he then posted an emphatic win in his Inter Dominion heat at Gloucestor Park, which was one of 5 heats run at concurrent Trans-Tasman meetings under a new format adopted by host state New South Wales, where the final was run in early March on a program featuring seven Group 1 races. The interstate trip did not phase “Quinny” who started equal favourite with Terror to Love, and swept down the outside to a decisive four metre victory over Mah Sish and Excel Stride to claim his third ID Championship, and the fourth for two of his owners Mark Congerton and Henry McManus.

A quick transfer to New Zealand gave him the opportunity for a second win in the Auckland Cup, just five days later, with his driver Gary Hall Jnr seeing it as “a top win from a great horse”. After three Group One successes in as many months, Im Themightyquinn was rested, but the accolades continued with his being named Grand Circuit Champion 2012/13 prior to his recent return to the track for season 2013/14, as well as both national and state Harness Horse of the Year. These were followed by an Our Sir Vancelot Distinguished Service award in early 2014 to recognise his Inter Dominion feats.

Injury timeouts over eight months slowed his start for season 2013/14 until he resumed racing in May 2014, with characteristic wins in five of six starts, including the Pinjarra Cup (Group 2). Then an interstate trip to the Queensland Winter Carnival paid dividends Ė “Quinny” set a new track record of 1:50.4 and a new Australian record (1600m) with a victory in the Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park, followed up by a thrilling come from behind close first in the Blacks A Fake Group 1. His Sprint record time is highlighted in a memorial on the running rail at the track.

These performances led him into training for the WA Pacing Cup and the Fremantle Cup, but fate intervened, and when he pulled up lame after a workout, scans showed a re-fracture of his off-hind cannon bone. “Quinny” was immediately “stood down” (November 2014). A further fracture detected in comeback preparations led to his official retirement (July 2015) and he will remain at trainer Gary Hallís Hazelmere stable “to enjoy the rest of his life”. Hall rates the gelding as the greatest he has trained, and “considers it was š privilege to have him”.

In eight years of racing, Im Themightyquinn recorded 58 wins and 34 placings from 111 starts, with prizemoney of some $4.56 million. With 14 titles, he has more Group 1s than Blacks A Fake (11), and challenged “Blackieís” record as richest Australasian Standardbred pacer ($4.57m) of all time. His highly successful career has elevated him to immortal status in Australasian Harness Racing alongside another “Mighty Quinn”, Young Quinn, prompting a slight change to Bob Dylanís immortal lyrics Ė “Youíll not see nothing like the mighty Quinns”.

major races/honours
won by im themightyquinn NZ
4YO McInerney Ford 4YO Classic (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 1)
WA Winter Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 3)
5YO Fremantle Pacing Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 1)
WA August Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 3)
6YO Inter Dominion Pacing C'ship Grand Final (Alexandra Park, NZ) (Group 1)
Inter Dominion Pacing C'ship Heats x 3 (Alexandra Park, NZ)
Auckland Cup (Alexandra Park, NZ) (Group 1)
WA Pacing Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 1)
Fremantle Pacing Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 1)
Cranbourne Cup (Cranbourne, Vic) (Group 1)
Bunbury Cup (Bunbury, WA) (Group 3)
7YO Inter Dominion Pacing C'ship Grand Final (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 1)
Inter Dominion Pacing C'ship Heats (Gloucester Park, WA)
WA Pacing Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 1)
Fremantle Pacing Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 1)
Mount Eden Sprint (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 2)
8YO Inter Dominion Pacing C'ship Grand Final (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 1)
Inter Dominion Pacing C'ship Heat (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 2)
WA Pacing Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 1)
Auckland Cup (Alexandra Park, Auckland, NZ) (Group 1)
Mount Eden Sprint (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 2)
Parliamentarians Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 2)
Winter Cup (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 3)
9YO Blacks A Fake (Albion Park, Qld) (Group 1)
Sunshine Sprint (Albion Park, Qld) (Group 2)
Pinjarra Cup (Pinjarra, WA) (Group 2)
Members Sprint (Gloucester Park, WA) (Group 3)

2YO* 8 1 2 $20,748 2:00.9MS
3YO* 19 5 6 $89,475 1:55.9MS
4YO 16 8 6 $262,780 1:57.4MS
5YO 12 6 5 $374,935 1:55.8MS
6YO** 16 10 5 $1,295,107 1:56.7MS
7YO 13 9 3 $1,250,060 1:53.5MS
8YO** 17 12 4 $1,077,610 1:53.5MS
9YO 10 7 3 $196,740 1:50.4MS
111 48 34 $4,567,456 1:50.4MS

* NZ performances
** Aust and NZ performances

race footage
2013 Pacing Final
Race Footage courtesy Trots TV/Sky Channel
2012 Pacing Final
Race Footage Racing & Wagering WA
2011 Pacing Final
Race Footage courtesy Harness Racing New Zealand

Pedigree - Im Themightyquinn NZ

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