McCarthy handed dream job on Maori Time
WINX is staying home, but another star Aussie mare will take on the world.
Australia's champion trotting mare, Maori Time, leaves later this week for Stockholm, Sweden to tackle the world's best trotters in the iconic Elitloppet Trot at Solvalla racetrack on May 25.
And top young NSW driver Todd McCarthy is pinching himself after learning he will be part of it.
McCarthy has driven Maori Time just once in Australia, but they connected well enough to convince owner Fred Crews and trainer Brent Lilley that McCarthy was the right man for the Swedish raid.
"It's an amazing opportunity," McCarthy said. "I follow the big international races and I've always been in awe of how incredible the Elitlopp looks. Now I'm going to be part of it.
"I took some time over the weekend to go back and look at some replays of the heats and finals. I can't wait to get there."
Crews and Lilley opted for McCarthy thanks to his win aboard Maori Time at Menangle. It resulted in a breathtaking frontrunning win in a record-smashing 1min51.5sec mile in the Group 1 Trotters' Mile back on February 24.
"We got along well that day and she showed the sort of time she can run. She felt magic," McCarthy said. "I know how hard a challenge this will be. These are the best trotters in the world, many of them in their own backyard, and in one of the great races.
"Every horse in the series has to be a star in its own right just to make it that far.
"Realistically, if she can finish top four in her heat and make the final she will have done an amazing job."
The Elitloppet is somewhat unique in that two heats are held early in the day and the first four home in each heat contest the final just two hours later.
"If she arrives there safe and sound and can show the form she did at Menangle, running the two races in a day won't bother her," McCarthy said.
Maori Time showed she was over a bout of atrial fibrillation when she sparkled in a Maryborough trial last Sunday. "The trial was brilliant. She went her last mile in 1min55.9sec and home in 56sec. She's off to Sweden," Crews said.
Sky Racing's will cover the stellar meeting with Greg Hayes trackside and Anthony Manton calling the races in English.