Lochinvar Art Photo by Stuart McCormick
The Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit is a different beast.
Designed for the best of the best, elite level racing that is the showpiece of the Australian Harness Racing Industry with horses competing from all parts of the southern hemisphere and sometimes even beyond.
Many talk the talk but very few walk the walk.
Only the best survive.
Well, the 2020 Pryde’s Easifeed Victoria Cup delivered in all aspects last night (Saturday) with a thumping victory recorded by boom pacer Lochinvar Art in track record time.
With pre-race hype reaching fever pitch, the David Moran trained and driven four-year-old took on the best possible field assembled amid Covid-19 restrictions and clearly solidified himself as the most dominant pacer in the land with a brutal beat down of his star-studded rivals.
It was both vicious yet mesmerizing.
Starting from gate four in the 2240m feature, Lochinvar Art justified favoritism and was handled aggressively early to maintain a forward position while being surrounded by the might of the Craig Cross entrants as they all attempted to find handy spots.
The Cross prepared Balraj held the early lead from his inside draw while his stablemates Alta Orlando, Cash N Flow and King Of Swing all kept pressing ahead deeper off the track.
Meanwhile, Lochinvar Art tried to stay forward too.
The lead time was covered in 42.5 seconds.
Eventually, it was reigning Grand Circuit leader King Of Swing who muscled his way to the lead from Balraj while Cash N Flow was left parked out.
The speed was hectic with King Of Swing covering the first half of the final mile in splits of 29.5 and 27.6 seconds.
With just over a lap remaining, Moran made his move on Lochinvar Art and left his midfield trail and looped three-wide before parking outside of King Of Swing.
Entering the back straight, Balraj started to fatigue and Moran pounced on the opportunity to take a seat behind the hard running King Of Swing.
The third quarter was timed in 28.6 seconds.
Approaching the home turn, King Of Swing and Lochinvar Art raced clear of their rivals but it was Lochinvar Art who had all the running and simply powered away from the reigning Miracle Mile/Hunter Cup hero while Bling It On made late ground along the inside to snatch third from Rishi.
With Lochinvar Art extending on his winning margin near the finishing line, it allowed Moran to salute and gesture to the skies above, a tribute to his late friend and mentor Gavin Lang.
The final split was an amazing 26.9 seconds.
The overall time was 2:35.1 which equates to a mile rate of 1:51.4.
It eclipsed the previous mark of 1:51.5 set twelve months earlier when Bling It On won the same event.
As it stands, Lochinvar Art now owns both the 1720m and 2240m TABCORP Park, Melton track records.
Raced by Kevin Gordon, the Modern Art – Ponder In Paris entire takes his record to 21 victories from 42 starts while his earnings are climbing towards $1 million.
And with so much coming up in the coming months, Moran will plot his course wisely with his budding superstar.
“He’s a horse that amazes me still as a trainer,” Moran said. “His never-say-die attitude.”
“That race didn’t really go to plan, not like I expected but the end result was still the same.” He added.
Lochinvar Art becomes the first four-year-old to win the Victoria Cup since Lazarus back in 2017.
With Lochinvar Art gaining maximum points, he elevates to 164 points while King Of Swing still leads the way with 260 points with Cruz Bromac holding second spot (180).
The 2019/20 season continues and the race to be crowned Grand Circuit champion is still alive and well.