King ready for Hunter Cup, despite critics
By Adam Hamilton
Luke McCarthy has scoffed suggestions King Of Swing isn’t as good as he was.
The doubters have been out in force since the dual Miracle Mile winner resumed from a break with what looked a “scrappy” win at Menangle last Saturday night.
And, despite drawing ideally from the pole in Saturday's Hunter Cup, King Of Swing has continued to drift in betting, from as short as $1.85 to $2.30 in some markets.
“Everyone has their own take I guess, but from my point of view he’s at least as good, if not better, than ever,” he said.
“I don’t think you can take too much out of last week. He’s like that, he never runs away from them. He still felt strong on the line.
“He thrived during the time off (after the Inter Dominion) and I’m sure he’s ready to run a huge race this week.”
This will be King Of Swing’s third and final crack at the Hunter Cup. It provided his “breakthrough” win back in 2020 and he then ran a fighting third to Lochinvar Art last year after drawing poorly and sitting parked.
This year’s race is no harder and this time he’s drawn to lead. McCarthy certainly expects him to take full advantage of the pole.
“People say he’s not a really fast beginner, but he is quick out,” he said. “I can’t see anything on that front row getting across him,” he said.
Asked about being crossed the pole in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake back in July, McCarthy said: “Yes, but it’s a lot easier holding up from inside draws at Melton than it is at Albion Park.”
If King Of Swing leads, McCarthy concedes champion Kiwi mare Amazing Dream looms as the main danger.
“The way the draws have turned out, if she’s sitting on my back, she’s going to be very dangerous. She’s so good with a sit like that,” he said.
“But King Of Swing is a very hard horse to get past in front. Think how many races he’s won leading.”
King Of Swing’s front-running wins include his Hunter Cup and the two Miracle Miles.
He’s only been beaten twice when he’s led in 30 starts for Team McCarthy.
Interestingly, McCarthy said he would like to race King Of Swing beyond the Miracle Mile.
“The owners have said they’d like to stand him at stud next season because he’s going to be such a sought-after and valuable stallion,” he said.
“Ideally, I’d like to give him a break after the Miracle Mile and bring him back for his farewell campaign in Queensland, especially now they’ve boosted the Blacks A Fake to $350,000.”
McCarthy said the much-improved Spirit Of St Louis was also primed for the Hunter Cup.
“It was good to have last week off after he strung those three big wins together,” he said.
“There’s no doubt he’s gone to another level, but this is a new challenge, especially from the draw.
“If he can land in a good trail, then he’s going to be a big chance, but I still think the best King Of Swing, and even Expensive Ego when he’s right, are that bit of a level above Spirit Of St Louis.”