Win lose or draw – the King will wear his crown!
The 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season has been different and somewhat elongated owing to the Covid-19 pandemic where the normal season equates to eight races staged throughout Australasia before a champion is crowned.
But this was no normal year.
We have witnessed two editions of the Victoria and WA Pacing Cups this calendar year while the Blacks A Fake will complete the season, albeit in a different section of the year.
The Gr.1 TAB Blacks A Fake normally completes the season in July, as part of the Brisbane winter carnival but the 2020 version is being staged as the jewel in the crown of their summer carnival.
So, the biggest event on the Queensland harness racing calendar will take place this Saturday night at Albion Park.
And the current APG Grand Circuit leader has arrived to put an exclamation mark against his tremendous season.
The Cobbitty Equine prepared King Of Swing will look to add the Sunshine State feature to his haul this year that already includes the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile.
Since being under the care of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy, the impeccably bred stallion has compiled a brilliant record of nine wins and three seconds from just 12 starts.
The Rocknroll Hanover five-year-old has also picked up the Gr.1 $100,000 Allied Express Sprint at Menangle plus four other Gr.3 features.
Amongst his nine victories, seven have been record in sub1:50 time with a ‘PB’ of 1:48.0.
The trio of pacers that have toppled him this season are the now Tasmanian based Ignatius, stablemate Balraj and most recently Lochinvar Art in the Gr.1 Victoria Cup at Melton back in October.
Since the Victoria Cup defeat, King Of Swing has recorded back to back Menangle victories in 1:49.6 while rating 1:53.5 for the 2300m distance two weeks ago.
The Blacks A Fake will be staged over 2680m.
Prior to the final leg of the season, the only possibilities of taking the title from King Of Swing (260 points) were the recently retired Cruz Bromac (175) and Lochinvar Art (164) but neither will take their spot this weekend.
Therefore, King Of Swing will be crowned the 2019/20 APG Grand Circuit champion – regardless of his finishing position.
Its a thoroughly deserving award for a pacer that has competed across three states thorought the year, taking on and frequently beating the very best talent available.
King Of Swing will start from gate five with McCarthy taking the drive as he chases his 9th triumph in the feature.
McCarthy has won the Queensland Pacing Championship seven times while he won the Winter Cup once.
Queensland officials combined the QPC and Winter Cup in 2016 and renamed the event in honour of the state’s and arguably the country’s greatest pacer of all-time, Blacks A Fake (72 wins from 105 starts - $4.5 million).
The other members of Cross/McCarthy team this weekend includes last start feature race winners Cruz (gate 3 – Leonard Cain) and Balraj (gate 9 – James Rattray) plus Bright Energy (gate 13 – ODM – Adam Sanderson).
Cruz scored in last week’s Gr.2 Queensland Cup defeating local hero Colt Thirty One while Balraj scored in the Gr.3 4yo Championship after racing without cover throughout.
Also representing the state of New South Wales is the Roy Roots Jnr prepared The Black Prince and the classy performer will carry plenty of support after drawing very handily in gate two.
The last start runner-up behind Cash N Flow will again be handled by young Tom Ison.
The Grant Dixon prepared Colt Thirty One is the defending champion after scoring in July last year and his recent form is sublime with six wins from his past seven starts.
No pacer has recorded back to back victories since the race was formed in 2016 with the last pacer to go back to back in the QPC was dual hemisphere champion Mr Feelgood (2010/11) while the last pacer to go back to back in the Winter Cup was none other than Blacks A Fake himself (2006/07).
And just like last year, Colt Thirty One must overcome a second-line draw (gate 11 in 2019).
The Mach Three entire will start from gate 10.
Astute mentor Vicki Rasmussen is looking to add her name on the winners list and has a pair of excellent hopes in One Change (gate 1 – Amanda Turnbull) and Turn It Up (gate 7 – Shane Graham).
Both pacers were previous members of the All Stars operation in New Zealand.
If successful, Vicki will join her father Vic (Son Of Pearl – 1997) and older sister Natalie (Blacks A Fake x 5) as a winner of the local feature.
Also chasing their maiden success in the feature are the locally prepared Secretagent Tycoon (Ryan & Dannielle Veivers - gate 4), Northview Hustler (Alistair & Brendan Barnes - gate 6), Clintal Do (Dayl March - gate 8) and Lilac Flash (Darren Weeks & Kylie Rasmussen - gate 11).
The emergency for the race is local mare Fame Assured (gate 12).
The TAB Blacks A Fake is scheduled to start at 9.12pm local time.
The current APG Grand Circuit leaderboard is as follows;
King Of Swing - 270 points
Cruz Bromac - 175
Lochinvar Art - 164
Bling It On - 145
Mighty Conqueror - 140
Thefixer - 110
Vultan Tin - 101
Self Assured - 100
Ultimate Sniper – 100
The APG Grand Circuit champion will reside in New South Wales for consecutive years with King Of Swing taking over from the recently retired Tiger Tara.