Johnny Was Better Than Good

On Saturday night The Creek will host the 14th running of the Be Good Johnny Sprint, named to honour the former champion pacer and Queensland Harness Racing Hall of Fame member, Be Good Johnny.

A son of Fake Left out of the mare Fleetwood Mandy, Be Good Johnny was foaled in 1999 for breeder Peter Fiechtner.

Purchased by John and Narelle McCarthy the gelding was not raced in his juvenile years, stepping out for his first career start at Albion Park on March 2, 2004, as a four-year-old.

Starting his career with a victory when driven by John McCarthy, the gelding was sent back to the paddock and would not start again until June 2004.

Winning his second race start, this time with Luke McCarthy taking the reins, Be Good Johnny won his first six starts before being beaten a head at his seventh start as an odds-on favourite.

Bouncing back form that defeat, the then five-year-old won his next 10 successive starts and his profile quickly began to rise.

His next defeat came on April 30, 2005, sitting parked and putting up a brave performance, ultimately finishing second behind Home Of Jack in 1.53.3, which broke the track record of Pocket Me set during a heat of the 2001 Inter Dominion, and would stand for over five years until bettered by Mr Feelgood.

It was at the end of his five-year-old season that Be Good Johnny took the step up to FFA company, finishing second to Cobbity Classic in the Sunshine Sprint before rounding out the term when 6th, again to his stablemate Cobbity Classic in the Winter Cup.

Signalling he was ready to step up to the ‘big league’ the 2006/2007 season would be the breakout year for Be Good Johnny.

Resuming from a short let up with a second in the Gold Coast Cup behind Double Identity, Johnny then finished third behind Slipnslide in the Garrard’s QPC.

The next week, six-year-old Be Good Johnny, at career start 28 arrived on the Grand Circuit stage, claiming victory in the newly formed Group 1 Trans-Tasman.

Be Good Johnny earned an invite to the Miracle Mile thereafter and three weeks later at Harold Park, held off a fast-finishing Slipnslide for John and Luke McCarthy to claim a coveted father/son quinella in the big mile.

Johnny then claimed the rarest of hat-trick victories at his next start, winning the Victoria Cup to make it three Grand Circuit victories in as many starts.

Later that season, Be Good Johnny won a heat of the Inter Dominion in Hobart before finishing unplaced in the Final, the first of Blacks A Fake’s Inter Dominion successes.

The efforts of Be Good Johnny that season in that season saw the six-year-old crowned the Australasian Grand Circuit Champion and in doing so, became the first ever Queensland trained pacer to win that title since it was inaugurated in 1977.

Returning the following season with a first up win in the Gold Coast Cup, Johnny then placed in both the QPC and Trans-Tasman before being set for a defence of his Miracle Mile.

Making full use of barrier one, Be Good Johnny led throughout to become the fifth pacer to claim successive Miracle Mile victories, defeating Blacks A Fake, making it a Queensland quinella for the second successive year.

Another heat win in an Inter Dominion Series, this time at Globe Derby came early in 2007, before finishing his even-year-old season as runner-up to Blacks A Fake in both the Sunshine Sprint and Winter Cup.

During his eight-year-old term, Johnny was back on the road to contest his third Inters series, however, was unable to progress through to another Final, but did win at Moonee Valley on Finals night in the Australasian Plate.

Returning home to Queensland, Be Good Johnny claimed another Gold Coast Cup, his second G1 Trans-Tasman and the Sunshine Sprint.

Be Good Johnny won his last Albion Park race on October 1, 2011, as a twelve-year-old and on November 19 that same year, faced the starter for the last time at Menangle, trying to force his way into one more Miracle Mile.

Retiring with the career figures of 123: 48-22-16 and $1,671,405 in career earnings, his record at The Creek was 84: 38-18-13.

Oh, how he was more than good.