FEELS Like Magic's front-running win in the 55th Newcastle Cup (2550 metres) could seal a move to American ownership rather than his place in the $100,000 Treuer Memorial at Bankstown on Saturday night.
The six-year-old gelding made the most of an excellent beginning off the front line in the group 3 standing-start event at Newcastle International Paceway on Friday night to hold out defending champion and $1.90 favourite Mach Wiper by a half-head.
The John McCarthy-trained Mach Wiper galloped from his 30-metre handicap, putting him more than 50 metres off the leaders just after the start, but he recovered before rounding the field three wide without cover on the last lap.
He challenged Feels Like Magic, which paid $14 for the win, all the way down the straight but fell short of becoming the first two-time winner of the cup.
Victory assured Feels Like Magic a start in the group 1 Treuer, which he came fourth in last year.
But Sydney owner, driver and trainer Kevin Pizzuto said he would run the son of Artsplace only if he landed a suitable gate.
"We'll see what he draws in the Treuer because he has to get to the front to be a hope in that," Pizzuto said yesterday.
"It's a tight track and he's a big horse."
Good draw or not, Feels Like Magic may not run in the Treuer because of a change in ownership.
Pizzuto said the pacer was on the market and he was in the process of finalising a deal with American buyers which could be completed this week.
The fighting win in the $30,000 event on Friday night no doubt helped lift his value and it was a victory Pizzuto said was overdue.
"I was rapt," he said of the performance to hold off Mach Wiper.
"He's been going good, the horse, he just hasn't had any luck."
The Ian Wilson-trained Hesa Buzzin, which started off 10 metres, was four metres behind the winner in third.
Livin It Lovin It, which is owned by Newcastle Harness Racing Club members, was an unlucky fourth, a further 2.2 metres adrift.
The six-year-old gelding was checked 200 metres after the start and again 400 metres from the finish.
The event became part of Harness Racing NSW's carnival of cups for the first time, bringing an additional $30,000 in prizemoney to the meeting.
Morisset's Mark Callaghan took home his share of the pool, winning the $15,000 Ladyship Pace with Demolition Babe.
The other major winner on the night was Keinbah trainer Shane Tritton, who took out the $14,999 Newcastle Standing Start Handicap with Losta Armbro.
Sawyers Gully trainer Rodney Pike won with Norvic Flyer on Friday then backed up at Menangle Park on Saturday night with an 11.5-metre victory to Nikita Bromac in the $25,000 Country Series Final.