One of the world’s greatest trainers has described Mr Feelgood as “scary good” and was not surprised in the slightest that the 17-year-old sire is now one of Australia’s leading stallions.
Hall-of-Famer, Jimmy Takter, who retired from training at the end of 2018, recorded a lifetime 2,157 wins and earnings of $130,132,900 from 9,972 starts.
The 59-year-old spoke to Egmont Park Stud yesterday morning (Sunday September 6) from his New Jersey base.
“I had two seconds in the Little Brown Jug, and only ever won it once when Mark MacDonald drove Mr Feelgood to an easy victory in 1:50 and three fifths. He was not only good that year, but ‘scary good’. He was piping hot that day. Up until then it was a career highlight,” Takter said.
As at Sunday, Mr Feelgood was the leading sire in Queensland this season with 196 winners ($1.2m) - 14 more than Bettors Delight and a whopping 43 more than third placed Mach Three.
Last year he finished with 160 wins ($1,058,978) - 53 fewer than Bettors Delight, but 38 more than third placed Art Major. A year earlier Mr Feelgood was fifth on the Queensland Stallion Premiership with 98 wins ($597,657).
“He was a great horse who was easy to train and drive. He comes from an incredible family with amazing bloodlines. It comes as no surprise to me that he’s kicking goals as a stallion down there.
“He was a classy animal and some of his progeny will surely follow suit. He’s not the best horse I have trained but he’s certainly up there.
“His tractability, speed, gait, and manners were his greatest assets. He was such a lovely horse to be around and I’ll never ever forget him. I’m sure people who send their mares to him won’t be disappointed,” Takter said.
“I kind of miss him. I’d be proud to race his progeny if I was still training.” he added.
Few horsemen and women know standardbred horse-flesh better than Takter. He is a member of the United States Harness Racing Hall of Fame (2012), the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame (2019) and the Hall of Fame at the Nordic Trot Museum (2019) in his native Sweden.
Takter said he retired from training two years ago, and now lives the sport through his daughter Nancy, who is the second top trainer in the USA.
“I refused to let the sport dictate my life. I was no longer happy doing what I was doing, and that's the only reason I needed to retire.
“I never allowed myself to have any hobbies. I never allowed myself to have any time off. I am happy now,” Takter said.
Mr Feelgood (1:49) is the only pacer in recent years to win major races in both North America and Australia.
Foaled in the United States, Mr Feelgood retired in Australia on April 14, 2012 at Tabcorp Park Menangle, the winner of 39 of his 114 starts and $3.36 million in purses. He also placed 33 times.
Mr Feelgood, who is by Grinfromeartoear and out of the Jate Lobell mare, Best Of Memories, was bred by Brittany Farms in the USA. His biggest achievements in North America included the 2006 Jug and the 2008 Graduate Free-For-All.
He was sold to Australian owners Kevin and Kay Seymour & Peter and Zilla O'Shea in 2008, and then placed in the stable of New Zealand trainer Tim Butt.
In 2009 Mr Feelgood won the A. G. Hunter Cup and Inter Dominion Pacing Championship, which led to him being crowned Australian Harness Horse of the Year. After a lacklustre return by his lofty standards he moved to the stable of Luke McCarthy in Queensland following the 2010 Inter Dominion series.
He gained more Group One wins in 2010 through the Queensland Pacing Championship in track record time and the 2010 Victoria Cup when sitting in the death seat throughout.
In October 2011 he surpassed $3m in prize money when he went back-to-back in the 2011 edition of the Queensland Pacing Championship at Albion Park.
Seymour always believed Mr Feelgood would be a successful sire and that's why he purchased him.
“It’s just so great to see that Mr Feelgood is now dominating the Queensland Sires premiership following his illustrious racing career where he was the only stallion ever to win the major races in both the United States and Australia,” Seymour said.
“But you look at his purple pedigree, his racetrack and siring feats don't really come as that much of a surprise. There are almost more millionaires in his family than there are in Hollywood!
“Mr Feelgood is a half-brother to millionaire mare, Remember When, and just for good measure, his grand dam is champion mare Leah Almahurst ($1m), linking him to legendary pacers Western Ideal, Life Sign, Three Diamonds, Naughty But Nice, American Ideal and World Champion filly, American Jewel,” Seymour said.
“Mr Feelgood has achieved what no other horse in the history of harness racing has done and will probably never do again on the racetrack. His progeny are regularly winning four races on a programme at Albion Park. Then there are several meetings where he has had three and two winners on the programme, and of course many daily doubles,” he added.
Mr Feelgood stands at Egmont Park Stud in Biddleston for a very reasonable stud fee.
Who is JIMMY TAKTER?
Jimmy Takter (born September 29, 1960 in Norrköping, Sweden) is based in East Windsor, New Jersey. He came to the USA in 1982
Takter is the son of Swedish trainer, Bo William Takter. He was originally a driver, earning his first win at Jagersro racetrack in Malmo, Sweden at age 18. He moved to the United States in 1978 to work for Continental Farms Stable, then returned to Sweden where he married Christina, his childhood sweetheart.
The two permanently moved to the United States in December 1982 and have four children, Nancy, Jenny, Tiffany and Jimmy, Jr. Takter became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
Takter won his first race in North America as a driver with Baltic Speed in 1983. He earned his first win as a trainer with Witsend's Apollo in 1984, whose 30 wins were critical to Takter's early success.
"He was a very important horse. He came along at the right time and he supported our family for a couple of years and he meant a lot to my wife and me. A horse like that gave me the ability to develop as a trainer," Takter said.
By the early 1990s, Takter was considered one of the leading trainers on the Grand Circuit. In 1996 he earned his first Trainer of the Year Award thanks to 2-year-old trotting champions Armbro Prowess and Malabar Man. In 1997, Malabar Man went on to win the Hambletonian, All-American and Breeders Crown and was named the Harness Horse of the Year.
From 1997 through 2000, Takter raced Moni Maker at tracks around the United States and abroad, winning such races as the Breeders' Crown, Elitloppet and Prix d'Amerique. Moni Maker was a three-time trotter of the year and retired as the highest earning Standardbred of all-time.
He owned a 100-acre training facility in New Jersey that contains a 5⁄8-mile track, a 3⁄4-mile straight track, and a two-mile jogging track.
In October 2015, Takter experienced a career highlight, earning $2,691,439 in the 2015 Breeders Crown Finals.
During his career, Takter has won the Dan Patch Trainer of the Year Award six times, the most of any trainer.