It's A Grand Old Victoria Cup

06 October 2021 | Chris Barsby

Upon reflection, the 2021 Victoria Cup looks vastly different to the 2020 version.

The Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Victoria Cup takes place this Saturday night, but for the first time, the Grand Circuit event will be staged at Lords Raceway at Bendigo rather than TABCORP Park, Melton.

The global pandemic of Covid-19 remains constant which has forced the change of venue.

It will be staged under mobile start conditions and run at the distance of 2150m.

Reigning Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit Champion King Of Swing will head south and cross the state border from his Sydney base to chase more feature race glory, it also provides a perfect opportunity to go one better from last year when he was forced to play the runner’s-up role behind the currently sidelined star, Lochinvar Art.

Prepared by the Cobbitty Equine team of Luke and Belinda McCarthy (5 Grand Circuit training wins to date), the six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover entire dominated the APG Grand Circuit last term, he racked up a stack of points while banking over a million dollars.

If successful, King Of Swing will jump to tenth (10th) on the All-Time Richest list for Australian/New Zealand bred pacers with a haul of $2, 562, 646 – the incomparable Blacks A Fake leads the way with $4, 575, 438.

King Of Swing has four (4) Grand Circuit victories (Miracle Mile x 2, Hunter Cup & Blacks A Fake QPC) against his name but sits well short of Im Themightyquinn who holds the record with eleven (11) victories at the elite level.

As it stands for the current 2021 APG Grand Circuit, King Of Swing leads the way with 180 points to date.

And just like last year, he’ll have a new driver steering him around the 1000m oval with David Moran booked to drive.

Regular reinsman Luke McCarthy, a triple Victoria Cup winning reinsman (Mr Feelgood, For A Reason & Bling It On) is stranded owing to Covid-19 border restrictions.

Oddly, Moran was behind Lochinvar Art last season when triumphant in the Victoria Cup with Anthony Butt handling King Of Swing.

First staged in 1974, no driver has recorded back-to-back victories behind two different pacers in consecutive years.

Multiple winning drivers includes Brian Gath, Vin Knight, Brian Hancock, Tony Herlihy, Chris Alford, Mark Purdon, Lance Justice, Dexter Dunn, and Luke McCarthy.

The late Vin Knight has the record with five (5) victories.

Only three (3) female drivers have won the Victoria Cup – Natalie Rasmussen (2006), Amy Tubbs (2008) and Kate Gath (2012).

Gath will partner Wolf Stride, prepared by her husband Andy on Saturday night while Pacifico Dream also represents the stable.

Andy has trained thirteen (13) Grand Circuit winners to date while Kate has driven eight (8).

Star mare Amazing Dream is looking to re-write the record books and become the first mare to win the Victoria Cup.

Prepared by Nathan Purdon, the last start Kilmore Cup winner boasts a recent victory over King Of Swing when successful in the Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park back on July 24.

The young mentor is chasing his third Grand Circuit win.

Driver Anthony Butt, with more Grand Circuit victories than any other driver (and by a considerable margin), is booked to partner the millionaire mare and is hoping to go one better after sitting behind King Of Swing last year when second.

Amazing Dream sits equal second (with Lochinvar Art) with 100 points this season.

And if Amazing Dream scores, the Bettors Delight mare will become the third richest pacing mare bred in Australia/New Zealand with $1, 469, 010 sitting behind only Shartin and Adore Me.

With a victory, Amazing Dream will pass Blossom Lady, Tailamade Lombo and Our Dream About Me.

Leading Victorian trainer Emma Stewart is represented by two runners, Out To Play and Mach Dan.

The Cardigan based mentor has three (3) Grand Circuit victories to her credit, Safari, Manwarra Goforgold and Philadelphia Man, but the latest was back in 2015.

Stewart has engaged three times Grand Circuit winning driver Jodi Quinlan for Mach Dan while Bailey McDonough chases his maiden Grand Circuit success when he combines with Out To Play.

McDonough finished third with Our Jimmy Johnstone in the 2020 WA Pacing Cup behind Mighty Conqueror and Vampiro.

Jess Tubbs is looking to join her late father Alan and her sister Amy as a winner of the Victoria Cup after the family scored with Melpark Major back in 2008.

Tubbs and her husband Greg Sugars and will send out in-form pacer Triple Eight.

Sugars has two (2) Grand Circuit pacing victories, Smoken Up in the 2012 SA Cup and Our Hi Jinx in the QPC back in 2015 while he also has a trotting victory.

Dual Victorian Cup winning trainer David Aiken (Lennytheshark 2016/17), is represented by Max Delight and Malcolms Rhythm.

Champion reinsman Chris Alford is chasing his 19th Grand Circuit victory when he partners Max Delight while Josh Aiken chases his third (3) Grand Circuit victory with Malcolms Rhythm.

Aiken has trained six (6) Grand Circuit winners.

Glenn and Julie Douglas combine with Torrid Saint and Glenn is chasing his second Grand Circuit victory after scoring with Bold Cruiser in the 2008 Tasmania Cup.

Connections of Majestic Cruiser and General Dodge are all chasing their biggest victory to date in Saturday’s feature.



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