For a boxing promoter, this prize fight lived up to the hype.
The Gr.1 $400,000 SEW Eurodrive Victoria Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton featured the best of the best currently racing in this part of the world and all twelve connections weren’t taking a backward step.
Some connections were talking louder than others.
Pre-race tactics centred on champion Perth pacer Im Themightyquinn and his driver, Gary Hall Jnr. with many debating whether he would charge off the gate from his favourable draw of three.
The million dollar question; would he, or wouldn’t he lead?
When the mobile arms folded, Hall Jnr. buzzed Im Themightyquinn off the gate and fired to the early lead with New Zealand raider The Gold Ace out to challenge early while Mah Sish and Terrorway tried to protect their forward positions.
Almost immediately, Im Themightyquinn handed over the lead to Terrorway who raced around the outside of The Gold Ace when they entered the back straight for the first time, Hall Jnr. content to race in the trail.
The lead time for the 2240m event was covered in a brisk 41.9 seconds.
Pressure kept coming with Terrorway joined by his stablemate Washakie while Smoken Up surged three wide, the first half covered in splits of 30 and 28.7 seconds.
Entering the back straight, it was still a line of three with Terrorway leading Washakie and Smoken Up, race favourite Im Themightyquinn sat dangerously coiled on the leaders back just waiting on clear racing room.
With the extreme pressure from the start, Washakie was the first to buckle and gave ground quickly taking back Bitobliss with it while Smoken Up raced up on the outside of Terrorway.
The third quarter was covered in 29.2 seconds.
As they straightened, Terrorway fought off the Smoken Up challenge but Im Themightyquinn, Caribbean Blaster and Mah Sish made their sprints together.
Hall Jnr. elected to come to the outside and made his sprint in unison with Caribbean Blaster with Mah Sish shooting the gap that was vacated by Im Themightyquinn on the inside.
Caribbean Blaster quickly raced past Im Themightyquinn with Mah Sish still coming through via the sprint lane.
At the line, Caribbean Blaster proved stronger holding Mah Sish with Im Themightyquinn holding third.
The final section was recorded in 28.5 seconds with the mile rate posted in 1;53.7, 0.4 seconds outside of the track record set by Smoken Up when successful last year.
The victory provided husband and wife combination of Andy & Kate Gath with their Gr.1 victory this calendar year.
“That was an unbelievable race; the pressure was relentless from start to finish, Kate put him in exactly the right spot and his finishing burst was special.” Andy Gath beamed immediately after the race.
Already successful in the Gr.1 Chariots Of Fire and Australasian Breeders Crown Final this year, both aged classics, tonight’s victory cemented him as a genuine Grand Circuit player.
“Obviously I was initially disappointed with the barrier draw (13) but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, his speed is sensational and he follows pace so well.
I thought he would win at the home turn, when he made his run with Im Themightyquinn I was confident he could get over the top of him, it was a very gratifying victory.”
Andy & Kate Gath have now snared both Grand Circuit events staged in their home state, the Hunter Cup (About To Rock) and now the Victoria Cup.
So at the end, it was Caribbean Blaster who landed the knockout blow to his rivals.