Aussie update - January 6

By Adam Hamilton

KING Of Swing is primed to start 2021 the way he finished last year.

The Miracle Mile and Hunter Cup hero launches a campaign aimed at defending both those crowns when he tackles a 2300m free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night.

“It’s the first of two runs he’ll have before the Hunter Cup,” co-trainer and driver Luke McCarthy said. “He had a few quiets days after the Blacks A Fake (December 12), but he’s ready to go again.”

Despite drawing the outside, King Of Swing looks a league above rivals, including classy stablemate Alta Orlando, who is struggling to recapture his best form.

You’d expect McCarthy to balance him early then push forward and find the lead.

King Of Swing will stay home, bypass the Ballarat Cup on the same night, and have his final Hunter Cup lead-up run at Menangle on January 23.

With Self Assured and Spankem out of Hunter Cup contention, King Of Swing is into $3.60 second favourite to successfully defend his crown on February 6 at Melton.

Local hero Lochinvar Art is into a remarkably short $1.95 favourite.

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THE barrier draw has made for a fascinating $50,000 Group 1 Maori Trotters’ Mile at Bendigo on Saturday night.

Glamour mare Dance Craze has the pole, but it’s not ideal given she’s repeatedly looked better when not used early in her races, including her barnstorming Melton win last Saturday night.

Right next door is Victoria’s other glamour trotting mare Red Hot Tooth, who boasts blazing gate speed and is sure to push from the front.

Andy and Kate Gath have star pair McLovin (gate three) and Majestuoso (six) engaged.

And then there’s last-start Vicbred final winner Always Ready, who steps into the big league, but has the help of an inside back row draw (gate eight).

Such is the depth of the Maori Mile, it trumps the $70,000 Group 2 Bendigo Cup for the highlight of the night.

NSW star and former Inter Dominion runner-up Our Uncle Sam heads down for the Cup after returning to something like his best winning the Shirley Turnbull Memorial on Boxing Night.

It’s a rare chance for feature race glory with Lochinvar Art having the night off and waiting for the Shepparton Cup the next week.

The other key Bendigo Cup runners include: Wolf Stride (gate 13), Im Anothermasterpiece (12), Sicario (five), Jamieson Steele (one), Bettor Be The Bomb (11) and Somebeachshadow (three).

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STAR mare Balcatherine’s quest to beat the boys in the $50,000 Group 2 Village Kid Sprint (1730m) headlines the Gloucester Park meeting Friday night.

The former Kiwi mare boasts 10 wins from just 19 starts, including six of her past nine, and looks a huge chance from gate three.

Regally-bred speedster Bletchley Park will take beating from gate two, but two of Team Bond’s stars are also in the mix despite wide draw with Galactic Star in six and Vampiro nine.

WA Cup winner Vultan Tin is also drawn wide in seven and not as well suited by the sprint trip.

Gary Hall Jr has elected to drive Balcatherine ahead of exciting stablemate Diego, who boasts four wins from just five WA runs for Gary Hall Sr. Stuey McDonald takes the Diego drive.

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