RACING: Two weeks ago Brisbane philanthropist Jim Kennedy was lying in a hospital bed, unable to see a thing after serious lens correction surgery.
Yesterday, Kennedy watched history in the making, as his latest prized racehorse Snitz charged clear to win the $150,000 NRRA Country Championships qualifier.
"I am breaking all the rules being here, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world," Kennedy said after Brisbane jockey Robbie Fradd piloted the exciting three-year-old past the post.
"The doctors told me there would be no leaving Brisbane for the next month, they wanted me at home in bed but I couldn't watch this from bed.
"I was so proud of him, he won his first maiden here at Grafton and now he has won his biggest race here."
Kennedy has owned racehorses for more than 50 years now, including a foray into owning his own stud farm, but he said it was too early to know if Snitz was up there with the best he's had.
The heavily backed gelding started the race as $1.50 favourite, and while he found himself at the back end of the field early, he proved everyone right in the home straight.
Coffs Harbour-trained mare Ferniehirst put in a strong run under the guide of Grafton jockey Ben Looker, and had led the field for most of the 1400m journey before finishing just under a length second to Snitz.
Fradd gave credit to the run from the fighting mare, but said he had always felt comfort able.
"With a horse like this he just does enough, when he has horses to chase down he just gets up there with ease," he said. "The only issue is when he gets there, he thinks it's over."
"I thought the second horse might come back quicker than that, but to his credit he kept pushing.
"I just had to give Snitz a little tap and get his mind back on the job, once I did that he just quickened up nicely, but he always had the measure of the other horse."
Snitz has now booked a spot in the rich $400,000 Country Championships final at Randwick on April 7.
Ferniehirst has also booked a place in the final after finishing second, giving Looker a minor conundrum after he already booked a spot in the race by winning the Port Macquarie qualifier on Victorem.
MORE racing coverage and full TAB dividends from CRJC's Blues, Brews and Barbecues race day in Tuesday's The Daily Examiner.