Aussies talk up Swayzee's chances
By Adam Hamilton
The last Aussie to train and drive a New Zealand Cup winner thinks Swayzee is the right horse to do it again.
Champion driver Kerryn Manning became the first female to drive an NZ Cup winner when she teamed with Arden Rooney for a narrow but epic win at Addington in 2015.
She became the first Aussie trainer to win the Cup since Jimmy O'Sullivan trained and drove My Lightning Blue to win in 1987.
"I like what I've seen of Swayzee," Manning said. "I had a good look at him winning at Menangle a few Sundays back and he just doesn't seem to get tired.
"I also went and had a look at his standing start trial (at Menangle) and he stepped away OK.
"I know that was only trial with a couple of other runners, but if he can step safely on Tuesday, I think he'll go as close to winning as anything."
Manning rates her NZ Cup win up with anything she's achieved in a stellar career.
"I was just looking at the (winning) photo in my living room the other day and thought, 'wow, that doesn't seem like eight years ago'," she said.
"It was such a special win. It's right at the top of my greatest moments.
"That win and the Group 1 (Harley Davidson Trot) in Norway with Knight Pistol are the two most amazing moments as far as crowds and atmosphere go. I felt like I was basically mobbed, but in a good way, at both of them.
"It's been such a hard race for Aussies to win. Lots have gone close without winning it."
Manning visited Arden Rooney recently where, in retirement, he has been re-trained into a show horse by young Victorian driver Jackie Barker.
"He was never the best looking horse, but I was blown away when I saw him. He looked fantastic. Jackie's done a great job with him," she said.
"He was down at the Warrnambool Show and he won some awards.
"It was just so good seeing him looking so great and enjoying his life after racing."