Albany trainer Steve Wolfe declared his gelding Mr Utopia “should be four from four this preparation”, following yet another breath-taking race finish – this time in the George Monck 70th Birthday HCP 1400m.
In a perfect world, the Elusive Quality 3yo would have picked up Express Service last start over the 1300m – again thundering home from last to fall painstakingly short by a stride. It has become a trademark for Mr Utopia – dropping to last, swinging wide on the final turn, and exploding into the straight to set off after the leaders.
But if ever there was a horse that made you work for your winnings – Mr Utopia is it – with most favourite punters requiring oxygen after numerous bouts of heart failure as they screamed for the gelding as it again ate up the ground late in both of its most recent outings.
And today was another win for the cardiologists. Dropped to the rear by jockey Shaun McGruddy, Mr Utopia ($2.25 fav) found itself trapped last on the rail, with Totes Amaze ($17.00) sitting on its outside offering plenty of pressure. Coming to the final turn, Mr Utopia was forced to extricate wider than anticipated, as the handy runner Flying Time ($9.00) found all the luck and looked to have the race in its keeping.
But Mr Utopia was not done with yet, unceremoniously switching strides as it stormed down the outside of the track to claim Flying Time in the last gasp to salute by a half-length. King Of Wu ($10.00) finished off well ¾ length away in third.
As we all settled back with a few medicinal stiff drinks, no one can deny there is no better thrill than being on a horse that wins races of the like – but one has to be very mindful of the fact that the near misses could prove financially fatal.