McNeil Series Starts Friday


Trotting in Queensland is at its strongest period and the results of the Inter Dominion Trotting Final confirm that, with six Queensland trained horses contesting the feature event.

However, were it not for the foresight and passion of Jim McNeil in the late 1990’s, arguably the square gait in Queensland may not be flourishing at its current level.

McNeil was instrumental in boosting the numbers of trotters in Queensland, leading a group who flew to New Zealand, purchased several dozen trotters, and eventually flew the horses to Brisbane.

With the trotting population increasing, regular racing opportunities started to materialise, and trotting races began to become part of the regular program.

Honouring the foresight and legacy of McNeil, the first running of the Jim McNeil Trotting Championship was held in 2011 at Gold Coast, the 14th running of the Series commences with the first-round heats at The Creek this Friday.

A two round Series held under discretionary standing start conditions, there will be four heats held with the top point scorers advancing to the Final on Saturday March 2.

The 2024 renewal will see two heats with 11 runners in each, the 30m back mark being shared by My Ultimate Eddie and Gus, with both competing through the recent Ladbrokes Inter Dominion Championship.

Both horses will come into the Series fresh, My Ultimate Eddie following the third heat of the ID where he made an error soon after the mobile start, and Gus following the ID Final where he managed to qualify after an impressive progression through the three heat rounds.

Gus has prepped for the upcoming assignment with a sharp standing start trial (shown above), where he took on the pacers from a 20m handicap.

Settled some 25m from the leader in the trial, it was a slick last 800m to reel them in, with the last 800 officially in 56.9, Gus being privately clocked to run his last splits in 28.03 and 27.28.

My Ultimate Eddie was seen at the trials on Tuesday where he came from a 20m handicap and was safely into stride to settle at the rear of the field.

Not asked for much, the five-year-old was strong to the line, running a 28 second closing panel.

My Ultimate Eddie will contest the first heat this Friday, the front markers including Regal Appointment for Grant Dixon and Hammer Son for Doug Lee.

No trotter has ever won he McNeil series twice, with both Regal Appointment (2022) and Hammer Son (2023) previous winners of the Series that will be looking to add their name to the honour roll for a second time.

Top Of The Moment and Itsallandover bring strong form to the first heat, while the now four-year-old, Hide And Seek will start from the inside lane after an impressive last start victory at his last three-year-old appearance when overcoming a second line barrier from the mobile.

The second heat will feature impressive last start winner Koda Da Moda, the four-year-old mare searching for a hat-trick of wins at The Creek.

Defensive Guy will start from a 20m handicap, the Matt Cronse trained six-year-old was impressive when scoring a smart win first up from a spell, pulling away from his rivals in the stretch to win by just on 10 metres.

Banff will start off the front tape, with owner Greg Mitchell chasing a fourth win in the McNeil Series for Mitchell whose other winners have been Regal Appointment, Foursharesmorebeers and the inaugural winner, Willy Lightfoot.

Heat 1 is Race 2 and is scheduled to start at 12.32, with the second heat Race 4 at 1.42pm.

2023 Hammer Son FT Doug Lee Doug Lee
2022 Regal Appointment FT Grant Dixon Grant Dixon
2021 Unknown Son FT Pete McMullen Graham Dwyer
2020 Majestic Simon 30m Chantal Turpin Chantal Turpin
2019 Scorched 30m Adam Sanderson Doug Lee
2018 Needle 10m Gary Whitaker Brad Connelly
2017 Foursharesmorebeers 10m Grant Dixon Grant Dixon
2016 Justabitnoisy 10m Doug Lee Doug Lee
2015 No Bones About It 20m Shane Graham Lisa Bahr
2014 Its Three By Two FT Clint Sneddon Frank Bennett
2013 Supper Waltz Wilson 60m Bart Cockburn Bart Cockburn
2012 Mexican Invasion 60m Gary Whitaker Terry Hancock
2011 Willy Lightfoot 40m Bruce Birch Elizabeth Birch