It was a McCarthy domination at Albion Park on Saturday night, along with Belinda putting their stamp on the TAB Queensland Constellations.
Of the 11 races on the card, six races were claimed by the McCarthy juggernaut, as the stable flexed its muscle, even with the King at home in the barn.
The night started with La Bella Vita claiming the opening race on the card, with Leonard Cain taking the drive and relegating the more fancied stable-mate Bettor Enforce to an unplaced finish.
Star four-year-old Expensive Ego quickly made it an early double when successful on the second race on the card with a strong win after working hard in the run.
Displaying his class, and the reason he is the ruling favourite for this week’s The Rising Sun, the entire had to dig in for the fight in holding on for a classy victory.
The first leg of the DJA went to the McCarthy duo, when Humble Ladd proved too strong over the closing stages to take a first-up victory as he heads towards the Group 1 Final on July 17.
Hype horse Spirit Of St Louis was the next winner, with the four-year-old ensuring he will be in the line-up for The Rising Sun when scoring a dominant win over the game Italian Lad.
With Luke giving the son of Sweet Lou glowing endorsements since joining their stable, there will be a plum drive up for grabs in the $250,000 feature with Spirit Of St Louis and Expensive Ego to clash in the most talked about race in recent years.
Ilikemebettor did his chances of a start in the big one next week no harm when the four-year-old pressed forward and scored a strong victory over the 2138-metre trip.
The final winner of the six-pack came in the Mares Qualifying Pace when Fairy Tinkabell was able to lead throughout.
Showing the strength of the stable, it is the third time that Belinda McCarthy has been able to train six winners on a card, with the other two coming at Menangle – both in 2013.
It is just the third time that a trainer has ever trained at least six winners at The Creek on the one card, and 10 years since the last time it occurred.
Bill Dixon trained six winners in April 2011, while the record belongs to John McCarthy with seven winners on June 19, 2010.
There are going to be some talented horses miss a start in the inaugural The Rising Sun, such is the depth and quality of horses aiming towards the race.
Saturday night saw several fringe hopes push their case for a start, while it also saw some of the hopefuls throw down the gauntlet to their rivals.
Expensive Ego was huge in victory after working hard in the run outside Blacksadance, before putting away the Queenslander in the stretch and take his record to five from five at The Creek.
Ilikemebettor staked a claim with a strong win in front, Spirt Of St Louis remains undefeated in Australia with another smart win and the three-year-old Kashed Up did his prospects a favour when scoring via the passing lane.
Perhaps the biggest statement on the night however came from the Kiwi visitor Copy That.
Taking on the open ranks in the Wondais Mate, the Ray Green-trained and Anthony Butt-driven entire scored a breathtaking victory.
Butt having driven Krug last week to his ultra-impressive Redcliffe Derby victory was again the statement maker with Copy That.
Looking to be in a hopeless position with under 150 metres to run, Butt angled the son of American Ideal to the outside and when he pulled the trigger, Copy That was like a bullet out of a gun.
Charging home to claim a freakish victory, the four-year-old now has his sights firmly set on a showdown next week with the likes of Expensive Ego, Krug and co.
Committed to the four-year-old for The Rising Sun, Anthony Butt now has some inside knowledge of one of his main rivals after handling Krug.
And with the strength of the win from Copy That, Butt is in a strong position to break through for a long overdue race feature at Albion Park.
Normally relying on sons Hayden or Brendan to do the driving when they are available, Al Barnes has been seen more regularly in the sulky in recent months.
Stepping out for the 22nd time this season, Al was able to break a winning drought at Redcliffe on Wednesday night.
Developing a strong relationship with Lincoln Farms over the past few seasons, it was fitting that a three-year-old gelding owned by that establishment should provide Al with the victory.
Bettors Delight gelding Brian Christopher was having just his second run since joining the Barnes stable and backed up his first start second placing with victory at The Triangle.
Well-rated in front, Al had the gelding in control soon after the start and after a comfortable first half of the last mile in 63.8 seconds, was able to roll home in 57.8 seconds for an easy victory.
Barnes’ last win in the sulky was also for Lincoln Farms when guiding Vasari to victory at Albion Park at what would ultimately become the gelding’s last Australian start before heading to America.
Mixing his time between training and working on-course at Albion Park as a track attendant, the relationship with the New Zealand-based Lincoln Farms has proven to be successful.
Horses like Northview Hustler and Larry Lincoln have done a great job for Barnes amongst a list of winners to come from the Tallegalla stables for the partnership.
With close to 2 years between wins for Al, expect the next gap between victories to be much shorter, maybe even just one week with Brian Christopher well drawn to repeat his victory at Redcliffe this Wednesday.
Time and time again, the standardbred shows their durability and that was again evident last Wednesday night at Redcliffe when the grand campaigner Machin Out scored victory in the third race of the evening.
Trained and driven to victory, Machin Out is a 12-year-old gelding that was competing for the 375th occasion under race conditions.
Steaming home down the outside to score his first victory this season, the veteran joined some elite company, having scored a victory in every season he has raced from two through to 12.
Claimed from a mid-week event at Menangle in July 2017, the veteran has started on 178 occasions for the Dux stable, and been victorious on 14 occasions with a further 33 placings.
Closing in on $100,000 earnings since under the care of Mark Dux, Machin Out also boasts a record that very few horses can lay claim to, having won races at metropolitan tracks in four states.
The gelding has been successful at Melton, Gloucester Park, Menangle, and Albion Park.
Trained by seven previous mentors before arriving in Queensland, the Mach Three gelding has spent the longest of his 375 career starts with the Dux team for a loyal group of stable clients.
Currently sitting 10th for the most starts ever in Australian harness racing, two more will see Machin Out move equal with another former Dux-trained pacer in Hal Thomas.
That pacer had 377 career starts, with his swansong back in October of 2010.
With the love and care that the Dux family have provided Machin Out, he looks set to climb further up the most starts ladder.
Finally, it is here.
After the cancellation of the 2020 Carnival owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queensland winter sky is about to sparkle with the 2021 Rising Sun.
The field will be finalised on Monday with the barrier draw to be conducted live the same evening on Sky Racing.
What a race it is shaping to be, and it is without doubt the highlight of the huge night of racing this Saturday night from The Creek.
A strong support card includes the Mr Feelgood Open Pace and the Fleur De Lil Mares Pace, both at Group 3 level.
The second round of the DJA Memorial Series for trotters will also take place with this round over the 2138-metre distance.
The Wayne Wilson Paleface Adios Classic is the other feature event on the card, and is for the two-year-old pacers.
In a busy week in Queensland, Redcliffe will host their regular Wednesday and Thursday programmes, while Marburg chime into the fixtures with Sunday afternoon action.
Whether it is racing – Standardbreds or Thoroughbreds – rehabilitation, agistment or breeding, Cobbitty Equine Farm’s location, facilities and operations ensure the horses welfare and development are paramount.