Class galloper Sultan of Swing returned to winning form with a vengeance when he dealt to his open-class rivals over 1600m at Te Rapa.
The Shaune Ritchie-trained six-year-old indicated he was nearing his peak after a sound effort for second at Ellerslie a fortnight ago and franked that form with his ninth career victory on Saturday.
After enjoying a cosy run against the rail in midfield throughout, rider Jonathan Riddell had Sultan Of Swing handily placed to make his challenge one-off the fence at the 300m. The pair burst to the lead shortly after and maintained a solid gallop to the line to defeat race favourite Aligns With Me, who stormed home out wide to snatch second from He’s Cavalier.
Ritchie thought his charge was ready to return to the winner’s enclosure although he was hesitant to label him a winner prior to the race due to the tricky track conditions and despite being opened as the $3.80 favourite by TAB bookmakers.
“I actually potted him on the radio this morning, as I thought $3.80 was too short when they opened up but obviously the bookmakers knew better than us,” he said.
“I was a little concerned about the track conditions but this is the second time he has come to Te Rapa and handled a slow track.
“Obviously he likes it here with that sand base.”
Ritchie had always felt a winning turn was not far away as luck had deserted the Bachelor Duke gelding in his most recent starts.
“He has been racing pretty well all season,” he said.
“He’s had big weights and wide runs and obviously the quality of horses he was racing against in the summer was right up there.
“There’s usually a nice horse coming through that can top him off, like last start, especially when they claim and you are giving them 9kgs.
“He’s a good genuine horse and a great horse for his owners.”
Bred and raced by Dominic Li under his IDL Racing banner, Sultan Of Swing was born and raised at Trelawney and has won nine of his 34 starts, including the Gr.3 J Swap Contractors Sprint (1200m) and over $269,000 in prizemoney. – NZ Racing Desk