By Jordan Gerrans
It is the unlikely swap that looks likely to deliver a feature trotting title for trainer Richard Hutchinson.
The 68-year-old Richard was preparing pacer Borderline throughout the back end of 2021 and through 2022 with mixed fortunes.
Just down the road from Richard was young trainer Jonah Hutchinson – who is no relation to Richard despite working in the same industry and has the same last name – working away with trotter Everysecondcounts with limited success.
As they were both not getting the best out of their standardbreds, Jonah and Richard came to the surprise decision to swap the horses, instead of selling them individually.
It is a deal that has worked wonders for both parties.
Jonah and Borderline won two of their first three starts as a combination.
While Richard and Everysecondcounts have taken a little longer to work each other out, they are now firing on all cylinders.
The bay mare is unbeaten through the two heats of the Jim McNeil Trotting Championship and looms as a major chance to claim Saturday evening’s Final from Albion Park.
“I had a mare that Jonah liked so we just made a swap to tell the truth,” the veteran trainer said.
“He took Borderline and looked like he had a good deal at the start because he won two straight.
“I took a while to work this other mare out and now we are both happy.
“Jonah was a happy man with it all and I am a happy man, as well.”
Despite not being related, Richard remarks that people will often confuse that he and up-and-coming trainer and driver Jonah are from the same family.
The Tamborine-based Richard has been a serious player in big trotting events in the Sunshine State of late after claiming the Group 3 Trotting Feature with Kingdom Come in November of last year.
With Lachie Manzelmann in the bike, Everysecondcounts has been impressive in the heats, winning the opener by a neck before claiming the second by just over a metre last Friday.
The six-year-old trotter also spent time in the stable of Taleah McMullen before going through the Hutchinsons transition.
Richard has tinkered slightly with a few things with Everysecondcounts, which he believes has got the square gaiter racing in her best form since she relocated to Queensland from Victoria in the early stages of last year.
“Before Taleah bought her, I was interested in buying her but I just did not pick the phone up to make an offer,” he said.
“I have had a few problems with her gait that I had to fix as she galloped a couple of times the few starts before the heats.
“I changed the shoes a bit, mucked around with a few things.
“It was not anything big, just a few niggling things.”
Everysecondcounts has been the best performed trotter through the heats – winning on both occasions – while the Grant Dixon-trained Banff has won a heat and finished second in another.