It’s a tie: McCarthy boys share premiership honours

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Battle Royale: Todd (left) and Luke McCarthy were quite happy to settle their differences with a good old-fashioned Indian arm wrestle at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday. Although it looks like that finished in a tie as well. Picture: Sean Cunningham.

It was a finish you couldn’t script.

And apart from knocking him down, there was nothing Luke McCarthy could do as he watched from back in the field as “little brother” Todd made his move in the last race of the season at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night, writes SEAN CUNNINGHAM.

But it was Darren Hancock with Boundtobemad who spoiled Todd’s party when he held odds-on favourite Merrywood Ruby (Todd) at bay all the way down the long Menangle straight to deny him victory.

Todd was beaten 1.8m and it cost him the Sydney title as he finished level with brother Luke on 31 winners apiece.

It was a thrilling way to conclude the 2014-15 NSW Metropolitan Drivers’ Premiership although Todd might have been able to claim a psychological victory as he recorded 33.5 second placings compared to Luke’s 21 runners-up finishes.

Todd entered Saturday night’s meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle just one win behind Luke and didn’t have to wait long to draw level, landing the Darren Elder-trained Shannonsablast a winner in Race Two to give him a share of the premiership lead.

Elder praised Todd’s driving style:

“I think the horse really excels under Todd; that’s why I put him back on,’’ Elder said.

But while Todd had more second placings, Luke won more prizemoney in the Metropolitan Premiership with $740,055.

Todd won $617,100, but fared much better in the NSW Drivers’ Premiership.

He broke through the 100-winner barrier, finishing the season with 116 victories to win $1,152,317 in prizemoney.

Luke drove 77 winners and was just behind Todd in the prizemoney stakes with $1,111,915.

Todd’s transition moving from Queensland a few years ago has been sweetened even further by sharing the premiership with his brother.

“It’s even more special to do it like that, I guess,’’ Todd said.

[social_quote duplicate=”no” align=”default”]“If I was going to win it, I wanted to win it clear on points, but I’m happy to dead-heat with Luke – that’s pretty special too.[/social_quote]

“I would’ve felt like I was cheating the system if I had won it on a countback with the second placings I had.

“I’ve got to thank every trainer I’ve driven for throughout the season.

“I appreciate every drive I get and it’s been a great finish to the season for me.”

Todd admitted it was a tough decision to move to Sydney after being so dominant in the Brisbane ranks the previous season.

“Coming down here was a little bit tough for me,” he said.

“I’ve settled in here now and I really love Menangle and all the tracks around Sydney actually.”

Luke also agreed that sharing the premiership was a special moment for the brothers.

“I don’t think it’ll ever be done again,’’ Luke said.

“I thought Todd would win because he had more seconds than I did but there was no countback.

[social_quote duplicate=”no” align=”default”]“Gavin Lang and Chris Alford also tied their premiership in Melbourne, but those blokes are a fair bit older than us and hopefully we can win many more.’’[/social_quote]

Todd is intent on going one better this season and is aiming to win the premiership outright.

“That’s the plan for this season,’’ grinned the star young reinsman.

However, it was Luke who started the season in fine form, winning the first race of the new season at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday with Ionagrinner.

And Todd was hot on his heels in second place with Makarewa Monarch.

When Todd took the third race with Quick Income for James Rando, Luke showed his intentions when he bounced straight back to the early premiership lead when he won the fifth race with Ideal Warrior.


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