The Queensland winter carnival continued tonight at Albion Park and star filly Nike Franco made a one-act affair of the feature, the Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Oaks.
In fact, it was one of the easiest victories in a major event seen at Albion Park for some time.
Starting as a short priced favourite, Nike Franco was given plenty of time to balance early before driver Luke McCarthy made his move heading down the back straight on the first occasion.
Working to the lead at the 1200m marker, Nike Franco quickly turned the race into a procession.
The Belinda McCarthy trained filly scored comfortably by 15m from Charming Allie and Beef City Safari in a time of 1;56.4 for the 2138m event.
Nike Franco ran her final half in 56.3 seconds.
“She is a high quality filly with strength and a great cruising speed; she travelled very well tonight and gave me a real armchair drive. Both Belinda and I have to make special mention of Dean Braun who prepared the filly before we took her over, she was in great shape.” Winning reinsman Luke McCarthy said.
Connections now have the option of lining up against the boys next week in the Gr.1 $100,000 Queensland Derby.
Nike Franco wasn’t the only feature race winner for Team McCarthy with the stable also scoring in the Gr.3 $45,000 Knudsens Betta Home Living 4 & 5yo Championship with speedster Chilli Palmer and the Gr.3 $30,000 TattsBet Gold Coast Derby with star colt Bling It On.
Chilli Palmer, renowned for his devastating sprint, unleashed his power over the concluding which came off a genuine tempo to score comfortably defeating Terror Time and Majestic Mach.
The milerate was 1;54.4 for the 2138m event.
The Elsu gelding was only having his second start for the stable following his scratching last week from the Sunshine Sprint.
Connections have the option of starting in either the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake or the Gr.3 $45,000 4yo Championship next week.
Brilliant colt Bling It On scored a narrow yet decisive victory in the Gold Coast Derby tonight, clearly proving he is the horse to beat in next week’s blue riband classic.
Sitting back in the field, the American Ideal colt sustained a strong sprint from the 600m marker to hold off Alleluia and Major Sam in a time of 1;56.2 for the 2138m event.
Bling It On remains unbeaten in Queensland after eight starts.
Leading breeder/owner Harvey Kaplan shares in the ownership of both Bling It On and Nike Franco.
Bling It On
Star Queensland mare Forever Gold proved she was on target for next week’s Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake following her dominant victory in the Gr.3 $30,000 Southern Queensland Plumbing Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes.
Sent to the lead soon after the start by driver Kylie Rasmussen, Forever Gold cruised to an easy victory defeating Missing Letters and Gliding Rose in a time of 1;55.6 for the 2138m event.
Forever Gold has now won this event for three straight years.
The $20,000 Lunchbox Lodge Country Cup Final was taken out by classy pacer Beetson who led throughout in the 2138m feature defeating Glenferrie Hood and Karloo Kix in a time of 1;56.6.
Recently transferred to the stables of Shannon Price, the multiple feature race winner made a clean sweep of the series after scoring arrogantly in the heat last week.
And former track record holder Suave Stuey Lombo exacted revenge on new track record holder Im Themightyquinn when successful in the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Open Pace.
Finding the lead, Suave Stuey Lombo was brilliantly rated in front by Lauren Panella and defied Im Themightyquinn over the concluding stages after staging a great war over the final lap.
The 2138m event was covered in a time of 1;54.7 with the final half paced in 56.1 seconds.
Both pacers will back-up next week.
Next week, the features include the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake, the Gr.1 $100,000 SKY Racing Queensland Derby, the Gr.2 $80,000 Kevin & Kay Seymour QBRED Triad 2yo Finals and the Gr.3 $45,000 Gurney Group of Companies 4yo Championship.
The mighty Queensland champion Blacks A Fake will also be trackside to parade before fans next week.
And don’t forget about the opportunity to win 10% ownership of either Im Themightyquinn or Bling It On for the night next week, for further details check out the website – aphrc.com.au
By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)