It's King Of Swing Vs Spankem this Saturday
By Adam Hamilton
King of Swing's Queensland campaign is starting earlier than planned - and probably on a winning note.
Team McCarthy made the decision early this week to change plans and take the dual Miracle Mile winner to Brisbane rather than have another lead-up race at Menangle.
So King Of Swing is on the quick back-up in Saturday night’s Lucky Creed Open Pace (2680m) where he has drawn the pole.
It means a clash with former Kiwi superstar Spankem, himself a Miracle Mile winner, but he’s got it all ahead of him trying to beat King Of Swing given the barrier draws. Spankem will start from six.
“I didn’t expect we’d have to meet King Of Swing just yet, but it’s good. It’ll mean some strong racing to get him to his top before the big races,” Spankem’s new trainer Darren Weeks said.
“He definitely needed the run last week and this will bring him on more again.”
King Of Swing won without really impressing first-up at Menangle last Saturday, but driver Luke McCarthy put it down to a mix of needing the run and switching-off when he kicked clear with a big lead,
Star stablemate Expensive Ego somehow get the luxury of contesting a support race (race four) rather than the Lucky Creed when he resumes from a freshen-up on Saturday.
Despite drawing outside the back row (gate 10) over 1660m, Expensive Ego looks classes above his rivals.
Team McCarthy’s other key Albion Park runner Saturday night is recent Kiwi import Spirit Of St Louis, who has his second run for the barn in a metro maiden race (race three).
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Star WA pacer Shockwave launches a campaign aimed at the Victoria Cup and NSW Inter Dominion when he returns to racing at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
And Ryan Bell’s five-year-old looks the leader and will be a warm favourite from the pole in Friday night’s Winter Cup (2536m).
It’s Shockwave’s first run since being forced to the sidelines when he bled after finishing third in the Group 1 Fremantle Cup on November 20, last year.
He was in career-best form before the setback, having raced 19 times last season for seven wins, eight placings and $330,661 in earnings.
“He was ready to go last week, but my gut-feel told me to wait another week and it’s turned out well drawing the pole,” Bell said.
“He’s ready to go now. We’ve got a strong free-for-all batch over here and it’s never easy, but I think he’s comeback stronger and more mature than last campaign.”
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Another horse aiming for a Queensland raid is high-class former Kiwi veteran Alta Orlando.
The nine-year-old is a former Miracle Mile and Hunter Cup placegetter and is the class factor in the Group 3 Alf Phillis free-for-all (1609m) at Menangle on Saturday night.
It will be first run since finishing a fourth at Menangle on May 22.
“He’s freshened-up really well and Queensland is the plan if he goes well this week,” co-trainer Luke McCarthy said.
“I’ll be driving at Albion Park, but Jack (Callaghan) has been driving him and he’ll do the job again this week.”
In what looks a competitive race, the other major players look to be: Pocket Of Terror (three), Hidden Courage (six), Bright Energy (eight) and Bundoran (nine).