King draws one in quest for Miracle Mile history
By Adam Hamilton
It is all falling into place for King Of Swing.
The Kiwi-bred champion was already the best horse in Saturday night’s $1 million Miracle Mile and now he’s got the best barrier to go with it.
King Of Swing will start from pole position in his quest to become the first pacer to win three Miracle Miles.
The seven-year-old is one of eight two-time Mile winners and the closest any have come to winning it three times was Smoken Up. He ran second, beaten only a neck by Monkey King, at his first attempt and then won it the next two years.
King Of Swing’s Miracle Mile odds were slashed from $2.20 to $1.50 straight after the draw.
Not only did he draw so well, but his main danger before the draw, Bondi Lockdown, drew awfully out in nine (he’ll start from seven when the emergencies come out).
It was noted straight after the draw that King Of Swing started $1.40 from the pole in July’s Blacks A Fake and was beaten, but driver Luke McCarthy dismissed that as a concern.
“He started from one only two starts back in the Hunter Cup and led easily. I’m very confident he’ll hold them out,” he said.
“I know they got across him last week, but I could’ve held Balraj and then I had Boncel Benjamin, the fastest beginner in Australia, coming across at me, too. I pulled out of it in the end,” he said. “Neither of them are in this race.”
“He feels really sharp at the moment and he’s coming off what I’m sure was his career-best run last week. It’s so hard to burn early and then sit parked like he did and still hold them all off. It was a mighty run.
“I told the owners before last week I thought it was the best we’d ever had him and he’s come through it really well.
“I just wanted to draw better than Bondi Lockdown, who is such a tough and exciting horse, and we have.”
McCarthy’s joy was matched by the dismay of Bondi Lockdown’s trainer-driver Aaron Dunn.
“Drawing nine is bad enough, but it’s that much worse with King Of Swing drawing the pole. We’re really up against it now,” he said.
“Still, he ran that mighty race from a wide draw in the Chariots and you know he’ll give his all.”
Much-improved former Kiwi pacer Spirit Of St Louis, one of three runners for Team McCarthy, looks King Of Swing’s main danger after the draw.
Top young driver Jack Callaghan will take the reins from gate two and likely drop straight in behind King Of Swing, which will suit his preferred sit-sprinting style.
“He’s a winner from the draw, too. He just keeps stepping-up and Jack keeps giving him great trips. He’s drawn to get a good trip again and that speed of his is dangerous at the finish,” McCarthy said.
Last year’s runner-up Expensive Ego (gate six) is Team McCarthy’s third-stringer and somewhat lucky to be in the race after being winless in four runs this campaign and only finishing fourth in his qualifying sprint last Saturday night.
“He was a lot better last week,” McCarthy said. “The Inter Dominion might have taken a bit out of him, but he can turn it around quickly, he’s shown that before. And I thought his run was really encouraging last week.
“Chris Geary will drive him. He’s never been on him in a race, but has been in trackwork. He actually drove him in his first trial as a two-year-old for another trainer.”
Miracle Mile draw : (all off the front row): King Of Swing, Spirit Of St Louis, Majestic Cruiser, Bundoran, Mach Dan, Expensive Ego, Jay OK (1st emerg), Like A Wildfire (2nd emerg), Bondi Lockdown, Better Eclipse.