Domination; Team McCarthy are looking for another QPC victory this Saturday night at Albion Park with Washakie, Terrorway & Motu Crusader. Photo by Corey Pearce.
The new 2012/13 Grand Circuit season officially gets under way this Saturday night.
And some things remain the same.
The opening leg of the Grand Circuit is always staged in Queensland with the running of the Gr.1 $200,000 Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship at Albion Park over the staying trip of 2680m.
Another constant is the domination of the McCarthy stable, which have made this race their own over the last decade winning it five times.
Only the mighty Blacks A Fake has stood in the way of Team McCarthy after he went back to back in 2008/09 while the event was not held in 2007 because of the devastating equine influenza outbreak.
The McCarthy stable has tasted success with Cobbity Classic (2004), Slipnslide (2005/06) while dual hemisphere champion Mr Feelgood has also posted back to back victories (2010/11).
Last year, Mr Feelgood downed Victorian star Smoken Up via the sprint lane after a cool and calculated drive by leading reinsman Luke McCarthy.
The McCarthy stable will roll out three representatives for the 2012 version with millionaire pacer Washakie spearheading the assault while emerging talents Terrorway and Motu Crusader will both attract plenty of support.
Washakie, a brilliant winner of last week’s Gr.2 Gold Coast Cup at Parklands is lining up for his fourth successive start in the sunshine state’s signature event.
The West Australian owned star finished third in 2009 behind Blacks A Fake, a runner-up in 2010 while he was placed fourth last year behind dual champion Mr Feelgood.
Despite drawing barrier eleven, the multiple Grand Circuit winner will take plenty of holding out.
Terrorway, a giant New Zealand bred gelding continues to make massive inroads at the elite level and looms as a genuine Grand Circuit pacer of the future.
In his first full Australian campaign last season, the Kevin Jeavons owned star won 10 of his 14 starts including the Gr.1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park defeating Smoken Up plus winning the Gr.2 Renshaw Cup at Penrith.
The Western Terror 6yo charged home from last behind Washakie in the Gold Coast week recording brilliant individual sectionals over the final 800m, but, the barrier draw has been unkind with the boom pacer drawing the inside of the second line.
Motu Crusader is another McCarthy trained pacer who carries strong form lines including a recent victory over Smoken Up in the Gr.2 Sunshine Sprint at Albion during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
The Courage Under Fire gelding performed in excellent style when second to Destreos in the Be Good Johnny Sprint two weeks ago at Albion Park and further improvement is expected from gate four.
Team McCarthy have the power, can they claim another QPC?
Rejuvenated former Sydney gelding Hiking was the big winner after the barrier draw was released on Monday afternoon and will start from the inside gate.
The Stuart Hunter trained gelding charged home for third in last week’s Gold Coast Cup behind Washakie and Terrorway.
Former juvenile star Captain Joy led and weakened in the Gold Coast Cup last week, his first start since August 24 and improvement is expected.
Other chances appear to be Vegas Bound and Destreos.
The Gr.1 Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship is race 7 on the program.