Australasian Grand Circuit
Stories:   Pacers 2006/2007 Season
Leg 1 Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship   2006/2007 Results   Points
            24/10/2006  Albion Park, Qld  2138m  Mobile Start  $100,000
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Luke McCarthy brought up his third successive Queensland Pacing Championship on Tuesday afternoon with Slipnslide when the first Grand Circuit race of the 2006/07 season was held over from Saturday’s rained-out program at Albion Park. 

Also trained by Luke McCarthy, it was Slipnslide’s 30th win from 49 starts, taking its bankroll to $1,039,341. The only horse from the Sunshine State to have won more is Blacks A Fake.  It became a millionaire when winning the rich Hobart Inter Dominion Grand Final last April, and missed the Grand Circuit opening because of a virus. 

Slipnslide will get its chance this week to pocket another handy cheque when Blacks A Fake will also be missing from the 2nd Grand Circuit event, the $125,000 Watpac-Ariadne Trans-Tasman, also at Albion Park.  Hardest to beat will surely be John McCarthy’s pacer, the brilliant and lightly-raced Be Good Johnny. 

Luke McCarthy won his first Queensland Pacing Championship with his father’s Cobbity Classic two years ago, then followed up last year when training Slipnslide to capture the event. This now six-year-old gelding is raced by McCarthy’s sister Jodie. 

Slipnslide, by Perfect Art USA from Vanturk NZ was well driven on Tuesday to gain the better of Rollercoaster Road (Scott Kunde) with a real eye-catching effort from Be Good Johnny (John McCarthy) a close third.  As was the case last season, these two McCarthy trained pacers will have some stirring battles this season as to which of the pair is the better, with that horse then likely to have to be in another scrap with Blacks A Fake as to collecting the mantle of Australia’s top pacer. 

After leading from gate six this week, Luke McCarthy bided his time with Slipnslide, taking the field through the opening quarters of the final mile in a leisurely 32.9 and 31.6 seconds.  He gave his gelding a little more rein to cover the last half in 57 seconds to rate an overall 1:59.2 for the 2138 metres.  



Rollercoaster Road had a perfect sit throughout, trailing on the back of the leader. I t was a big effort from this 10/1 chance to finish just a half-neck second, with the 5/4 favourite Be Good Johnny putting in its usual stout finish, again flashing up a sign to its many supporters to ‘stick with me next time’. 

Cobbitty Classic (Andrew McCarthy), the third member of the all-powerful McCarthy Team, finished a nice fifth, though nothing behind it is probably up to the quality of what some of the later Grand Circuit fields will be when the best from Melbourne and Sydney link up with Group One racing in coming weeks. 

Slipnslide was earlier a little disappointing when returning to racing after a good layoff from last season’s excellent racing, and no doubt was turned out much fitter for the Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship, an opinion the trainer-driver expressed after his win. 

“He is another year older and seems to be taking that little extra time to hit peak condition, and tonight the horse just jumped another notch with this win,” said Luke McCarthy.  “It should top him off just nicely for the longer 2680 metres of the Watpac/Ariadne Trans-Tasman later this week.” 

In previous years these two opening events on the Grand Circuit attracted top class pacers from the southern states, but that was when interstate trainers viewed Queensland horses as merely making up the fields.  Not these days, with the top three nationally rated pacers all from the Sunshine State. How the wheel is changing in Australian breeding. 

Interestingly, there was not one Kiwi-bred horse in the field this year, with Sweet Fame USA the only imported pacer.  It finished a disappointing 7th, but obviously can improve. 

Against a similar field to Tuesday’s big one, Be Good Johnny will start from outside the front line this week, an alley looked upon as the worst possible gate to draw at Albion Park.  Slipnslide will come from inside of two horses on the second line, with stablemate Cobbitty Classic having the pole. 

If pre-post betting is any guide, the market expects the McCarthy family to dominate the race, with Slipnslide favourite from Be Good Johnny, then third best Cobbitty Classic at $6.50. Visitor Karloo Mick (Barry Lew), which picked up $3,000 for finishing fourth in the Queensland Pacing Championship, will come out of gate 6 and seems to have its work cut out to challenge the two topliners from the McCarthy Team. 

Meanwhile, the Directors of the New South Wales Harness Racing Club in Sydney will be closely following the form in this race, along with several other interesting races over this weekend on both sides of the Tasman as time draws closer to compile the best possible field for the $500,000 Miracle Mile at Harold Park on November 24. 



All Time Pacing and Trotting Records pre-2001 please refer to the Australian Harness Racing Annual.

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