The new 2013/14 Grand Circuit season is underway.
And all the right ingredients have been added including speed, colour, excitement and horsepower at its very best which sets up for an intriguing season ahead.
As per normal, the Gr.1 $200,000 Garrards Queensland Pacing Championship at Albion Park kick starts the season and the traditional state of origin is always a factor between the host state and New South Wales.
Tonight was no different with Team McCarthy heading north to take on the best available from the sunshine state.
The McCarthy stable have dominated the QPC winning six of the last eight editions with only champion pacer Blacks A Fake standing in their way after recording back to back victories in 2008/09.
Multiple Group One winner Ideal Scott was a heavily backed favourite to take out the event after recent Kiwi import Field Officer drew poorly on the inside of the second-line.
The Belinda McCarthy trained and John McCarthy driven Ideal Scott began nicely from his trailing draw and found himself midfield in the moving line as Devil Dodger and Saucy Legend contested the early lead in the 2680m feature.
The lead time was covered in 81.3 seconds.
Devil Dodger continued to set the speed in front while McCarthy waited patiently in the moving line as Field Officer raced to his immediate inside.
McCarthy made his move at the 1200m mark as he worked around three-wide quickly to park outside Devil Dodger while Field Officer remained firmly entrenched on the marked line.
The first half of the final mile was covered in 29.5 and 30.4 seconds.
Heading down the back straight on the final occasion, Ideal Scott travelled powerfully on the outside of Devil Dodger while Pub Blitz worked clear of a pocket after following Devil Dodger.
The third quarter was covered in 27.5 seconds.
As they straightened, Ideal Scott raced clear of his rivals with Pub Blitz, Devil Dodger, Field Officer and Vegas Bound all battling for the minor prizes.
Ideal Scott scored comfortably at the finish by 3.5m over Pub Blitz with a further 1.75m back to an unlucky Field Officer.
The final split was also covered in 27.5 seconds.
The mile rate was 1;57.8, well outside of the race record of 1;55.9 set by Mr Feelgood in 2010.
“We love this race and we love coming back to Queensland every chance we get. This is a great race and we always target it with our team of horses.” Winning driver John McCarthy said.
“He went great last week and he’s done very well during the week, I drove confidently knowing that he can run such a great half and I was pretty confident a fair way out. He’s still on the up this horse and we’ll take him home and get him ready for the Miracle Mile now.” McCarthy added.
Surprisingly, the victory provided John with his first driving success in the state’s biggest event while it was also a first for Belinda as a trainer.
A strong crowd watched the event including Queensland State Premier, the Honourable Campbell Newman along with State Treasurer, the Honourable Tim Nicholls.
The next leg of the Grand Circuit is the Gr.1 $NZ650,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Addington on November 12.
Ideal Scott claims first points of the new season with the Grand Circuit champion collecting a $20,000 bonus from Australian Pacing Gold at seasons end.
by Chris Barsby