All on track for King Of Swing
By Adam Hamilton
Everything is falling into place for King Of Swing successful Miracle Mile title defence.
First came the unfortunate and untimely hoof injury which forced Lochinvar Art out of the race.
Then came an easy and absolutely ideal qualifying win, followed by what driver Luke McCarthy described as “an ideal draw” for next Saturday night’s $1 million race.
King Of Swing drew gate six, will come into five if second emergency One Change (gate three) doesn’t get a run and most expect he’ll press forward and find the front.
Significantly, last night’s other impressive qualifying race winner, Anthony Butt’s Wolf Stride, drew outside King Of Swing in gate seven. As did potential five-bombers Out To Play (nine) and Stylish Memphis (10).
“Tonight couldn’t have gone much better for him,” McCarthy said. “That win was just what he wanted to sharpen him right up for next week and I said before I draw I wanted something in the middle with him because he begins best from there.”
King Of Swing meandered to the lead in a 27.2sec open quarter in last night’s $100,000 Group 1 Schweppes Sprint and McCarthy controlled tempo to his liking before unleashing a 25.8sec closing quarter at the end of a 1min49.5sec mile to win as he liked.
Emerging Victorian visitor Out To Play, trained by Clayton Tonkin and owned in the same interests as the sidelined Ride High, turned plenty of a heads when clocked to run a 25.4sec last quarter to snatch second spot.
In the first qualifier, the $100,000 Allied Express, Wolf Stride came from midfield with a powerhouse finish and his own 53.3sec last half to rundown the leader Alta Orlando in a 1min49.1sec mile.
“He’s come so far, so quickly this horse. That was big, big win tonight,” Butt said.
Former Kiwi Mach Shard, having his first run for Belinda McCarthy, charged through late for third from three pegs in an eye-catching performance.
But selectors went with Ignatius, who sat parked and ran fourth to King Of Swing, ahead of Mach Shard and One Chance (who ran third in the King Of Swing race) for the last spot in the Miracle Mile field.
Stylish Memphis effectively ensured her spot when she stormed home to win the Ladyship Mile last night in a 1min49.2sec mile, but her Miracle Mile hopes took a hammering when she drew the outside.
Much interest will focus on who will drive Belinda McCarthy’s other two Miracle Mile runners – Expensive Ego and Alta Orlando – along with what the tactics will be on quick beginners like The Black Prince (one), Ignatius (two) and Alta Orlando (five) drawn inside King Of Swing.
“We’ll gets straight onto drivers for the others tomorrow (Sunday),” Luke McCarthy said. “We’ll chat to the owners and we want to be fair to everyone and announce them early. I’m not going to speculate now.”
But champion Victorian Chris Alford and Lochinvar Art’s driver David Moran were both names bandied around on-track at Menangle last night as major contenders for the drives.