NSW: Belinda back in the 'hotseat'

Belinda McCarthy has taken over the training at Cobbitty Equine Farm over Craig Cross and has 10 starters at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight.

Belinda McCarthy has taken over the training at Cobbitty Equine Farm over Craig Cross and has 10 starters at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. Photo by Club Menangle

FORMER premier trainer Belinda McCarthy is back in the ‘hotseat’ at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight with 10 starters on the eight-race card.

With last season’s premier trainer Craig Cross stepping down from the role, mainly due to his ongoing serious leg issues after being kicked by a horse, Belinda was happy to re-take the reins on the big team trained out of Cobbitty Lodge.

In fact she admits she has been champing at the bit to get her team back after being kept busy looking after their stallions and fitting in stacks of bookings for mares.

Of course, Belinda’s husband Luke is the No 1 driver for the team and besides those commitments finds himself in demand by outside stables whenever there is not one of his own stable’s runners.

While the loss of the workaholic Cross from the team will be difficult, Belinda has an amazing strike rate as a trainer, with a win about one in every four starters, so the team will lose nothing with her taking over.

Among her major wins as a trainer are the Miracle Mile (Baby Bling), Victoria Cup (For A Reason) as well as a string of other Group 1 successes.

And she has certainly answered the call at the right time with the team going as well as it ever has.

“I told everyone to be on their game as I want to keep up my strike rate,” she grinned.

News that borders between New South Wales and Victoria are open will be music to the ears of Belinda and Luke who will head south with King Of Swing to tackle the $500,000 A. G. Hunter Cup at Melton on February 6.

“We’re planning to go down there nice and early to make sure we have had our COVID-19 tests and are all clear to go,” she said.

King Of Swing was one of three horses Belinda will take south of the border for the Grand Circuit event with Alta Orlando and Star Galleria also nominated.

Despite the rave reviews that Lochinvar Art is now Australia’s best pacer, Belinda and Luke McCarthy would disagree.

Belinda has declared ‘the King’ is going as well, if not better than last year when he stamped himself as a Miracle Mile winner and a champion.

“We can’t wait for a crack at the big races as this horse just keeps going to another level,” she said.


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