Swayzee does it easy in opening ID heat

By Adam Hamilton

Driver Cam Hart was buzzing after New Zealand Cup hero Swayzee opened his Brisbane Inter Dominion campaign with an easy win last night.

The five-year-old clocked the slowest of the four 1660m pacing heats on night one, but Hart wasn’t fazed at all.

“He looks great and he felt as good as he looks,” he said. “Look at him … he’s put on so much weight. I think we’re in for a great series.

“He was pulling away at the finish and felt great after the line. I was thrilled.”

Swayzee’s win was his first run since his NZ Cup win at Addington on November 14 and stretched his unbeaten record for trainer Jason Grimson to 10 races.

Grimson is chasing his third successive Inter Dominion final win after scoring with Boncel Benjamin in Sydney (2021) and I Cast No Shadow at Melton last year.

Swayzee will need a little luck to continue his winning streak in Tuesday’s second round of heats from inside the back row over 2138m.

His half-brother Leap To Fame was never out of first gear winning his opening night heat in the fastest of the night with a 1min51sec flat mile rate.

“An ideal start,” trainer-driver Grant Dixon said. “He did that well.”

Leap To Fame was balanced-up early, went around to take the lead after 400m and held-off Swayzee’s stablemate Nerano, who ran a bold race for second.

Leap To Fame remains $1.80 to win the final from Swayzee at $3.80.

Dual Group 1 winner Better Eclipse turned plenty of heads when he defied the racing pattern to sit parked and win his first heat.

“That’s two really impressive wins in a row now, two of the best wins of his career,” driver Greg Sugars said. “He seems to be finishing off his races better than ever. I’m really happy where he’s at.”

Better Eclipse will have more of a test from outside the back row (gate 11) on night two. Leap To Fame has the back row (gate nine) in his second round heat.

Sugars had a golden night with Just Believe also starting his Inter Dominion title defence with an easy heat win.

The rising eight-year-old was crossed at the start by local Sir Fahrenheit, but re-took the front and won in arrogant style by 4.6m in a 1min57.2sec mile rate.

“He’s in the zone, that’s for sure,” Sugars said. “His two runs back (from a spell after Sweden) have been terrific and there should be improvement to come.

“He really does seem to be better than before he went to Sweden.”

The biggest upset of the night came when Kiwi-owned mare Queen Elida was easily run down by Plymouth Chubb in the second of the trotting heats.

Queen Elida worked to the front and dictated terms, but was no match for Peter Manning’s former star juvenile trotter when he escaped a pocket and check on the home bend.

“That was some sort of win,” stand-in driver Cam Hart said. “He was knocked down on the home bend, but picked himself up and won easily.”

Hart will continue driving Plymouth Chubb through the heats as Kerryn Manning races to overcome a nasty wrist injury to partner her family’s trotter in the final.

The other trotting heat saw a minor upset when Kiwi-bred Ollivici gunned-down leader and favourite Mufasa Metro to win comfortably.

“The race changed for me when the one inside me galloped and I was able duck down and get in behind Mufasa Metro,” trainer-driver Chris Lang said.

“It was great to kick-off with a win, but Just Believe showed us all where the bar is set.”

Ollivici has a wide draw (gate seven) in the same heat as Queen Elida (three) on Tuesday night.

Plymouth Chubb is drawn superbly in gate two against Just Believe (inside back row eight) on night two.

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