The Queensland Pacing Championship is the first Grand Circuit event of the season.
Team McCarthy has won 7 of the last 9 QPC’s, a staggering domination of Queensland’s number one Harness event.
Champion Blacks A Fake has been the only horse that has stood in the way of a McCarthy sweep - winning back to back QPC’s in 2008/09.
History tells us the best horses and the best stables win this race and I think 2014 will be no exception.
The Queensland Pacing Championship is set to jump at 9:10pm (AEDT) Saturday. Tune in to Sky Racing for comprehensive coverage!
No disrespect to the other runners but with the way the draws have played from a punting perspective, I think they’re only two winning hopes – the local star Avonnova and last season’s Victoria Cup winner For A Reason.
Avonnova is a great story. Claimed for $20,000 out of a Goulburn race by trainer Ian Gurney, this son of Art Major has been a revelation in Queensland and is now the Sunshine State’ best horse.
He’s been placed twice at Group 1 level and on Saturday I expect Avonnova to take out the first Grand Circuit event of the season.
Last week he rolled to the front and smashed most of his rivals in the Gold Coast Cup.
“He’s trained on really well since last week’s win, he did it so easy and will be better again on Saturday night.” Ian Gurney said.
I have to agree with Ian. Shane Graham will be able to rate him the way he likes, the extra trip will suit and Avonnova’s fairytale should continue in the Queensland Pacing Championship and the $1.80 fixed price with TAB.com.au is still pretty good.
For A Reason is his only danger. His effort when he settled a long way behind Avonnova was exceptional in the Gold Coast Cup and from a better draw in gate three expect Luke McCarthy to have him a lot closer to Avonnova.
Check the full TAB.com.au market for the Queensland Pacing Championship here
“He had a few setbacks over the winter and I was really happy with his run last week, he will be third up Saturday night and we have set him for this race.” Luke McCarthy said.
For A Reason ($3.50) won the Victoria Cup against a much stronger field last year. He was placed in an Inter Dominion, he has class and can stay the distance. The lack of gate speed is the concern but if he’s within a few lengths of Avonnova at the top of the straight For A Reason might be too quick for the Queensland star.
Abettorpunt ($8.50) is the only Victorian taking his place in the QPC. The son of Bettors Delight is a serious horse. He proved that with a couple of performances in some of Australia’s biggest races last season. The David Lewis trained pacer has returned a better horse this time in, but the draw hurts him from the second row, it’s going to be difficult for him to turn the tables on Avonnova.
Our Hi Jinx ($9), the stablemate of For A Reason is the ‘X’ factor in the QPC. The former New Zealand pacer is still an M0 and takes on proven open class horses. He’s had two starts for Belinda McCarthy, won both of them impressively and will get a lovely run just off the pace from barrier 1. I think he’s a wonderful place hope but may struggle the last 200 metres.
Shane Tritton sends two horses to Brisbane. Mark Dennis ($41) defeated a star studded line up at Tabcorp Park Menangle first up. The draw hasn’t been kind and off the fence I think the distance will be too much for him on Saturday.
Marty Monkhouser ($23) is Tritton’s best chance as evidenced by Lauren Panella deciding to drive the last start Breeders Crown champion.
“Marty Monkhouser goes into this first up but he did trial really well at Menangle smashing the clock for his last quarter. He keeps on getting better and with any luck from the draw he won’t be far away.” Tritton said.
Forever Gold ($61) is one of Australia’s best mares but drawing outside the front row gives her a place chance at best.
I also give Redcliffe Cup winner Majestic Major ($11) and Machtavish ($151) terrific place hopes.
Saturday night will kick off the Grand Circuit and I think it might also start off a season to remember for the horse they call “The Beast” Avonnova.
G3 - The Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Steeple Chase
G2 - Prix Raoul Balliere
G2 - Prix Ariste Hemard
G3 - Victress Stakes
G2 - Premier Trophy