Aussie stars shine

By Adam Hamilton

THIS special crop of Aussie open-class stars was on show again when Lochinvar Art and King Of Swing flexed their muscle on Saturday night.

Chariots Of Fire winner Lochinvar Art found himself under the microscope after a shock defeat two weeks earlier when found to have a mild viral infection.

And he delivered … superbly.

David Moran’s four-year-old was given time to settle early, unlike his previous run, then Moran made his move after 800m and when his only real rival, Major Times (who beat him last time) had spent plenty of petrol to find the front.

Lochinvar Art had the race won at the 500m and Moran largely nursed him from there to a 10.5m in closing splits of 55.9 and 27.7sec.

“He just felt a different horse tonight. When he got outside Major Times he felt keen and great, compared to last time when I knew he was in trouble at the 600m when he didn’t pick-up the bit when Major Times came at him,” Moran said.

“It’s a relief for sure. I felt a bit of pressure going into this after what happened last time. I know how good he is and you don’t expect things like last time.

“He felt back to his best tonight and did it easily.”

Asked about clashing with Ride High, which now looks likely in coming weeks again after Lochinvar Art’s winning return, Moran said: “We’ll just take it a week at a time and see what happens.

“Everything is in limbo. We don’t when the Victoria Cup will be. I’m not going to think too far ahead, but you can’t with all this uncertainty.”

Just a few minutes after Lochinvar Art strutted his stuff, King Of Swing defied a windy and cold winter’s night to blaze a 26.2sec opening quarter and 1min48.8sec mile to win second-up.

As he can do, the five-year-old “waited” a little for his rivals and classy stablemate Alta Orlando looked a chance of gunning him down from the perfect trail, but King Of Swing held him comfortably on the line in closing splits of 54.6 and 26.8sec.

It was King Of Swing’s sixth win on end and took his record for Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy to six wins and a second from just seven runs.

The 1min48.8sec mile was the third fastest of his career, but the other two, headed by the Miracle Mile’s 1min48sec flat, were run in summer conditions.

“We had him ready to go first-up, but he was better again tonight,” McCarthy said. “This run should bring him on that little bit more again.”

King Of Swing deservedly headlines the Cross/McCarthy team of open-class stars, but it’s a hot batch with Cash N Flow, Alta Orlando, the emerging Balraj and also Bling It On about to return.

Balraj, who upstaged Alta Orlando at his first run for Cross/McCarthy, steps out again next Saturday night at Menangle.

McCarthy said Bling It On, a Victoria and Hunter Cup winner, was progressing well in his last racing campaign and would trial at Menangle on Wednesday. 

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