Barastoc Pacers Grand Circuit Series
Stories: Pacers 2008/2009 Season
Five-year-old stallion Mister Swinger made amends for two recent unlucky outings when he flashed home to defeat the favourite Gotta Go Cullen NZ in the $100,000 Sky Channel SA Pacing Cup on Saturday night at Globe Derby Park.
The race was a personal triumph for former Adelaide horseman Geoff Webster who last season moved his stables to Bannockburn, near Geelong. Webster has long been rated by many in South Australia as the finest reinsman to have emerged from that State since his famous uncle, the late ‘Dick’ Webster.
Highly successful Kiwi reinsman Anthony Butt, who drove the heavily backed favourite Gotta Go Cullen NZ into second place, had been spot on with one prediction he made during last week.
“I noticed Mister Swinger went really well when third in the recent Victoria Cup, and had no luck in his only start since. Back to the mobile, he will take a lot of beating in Adelaide.”
Butt drove Gotta Go Cullen NZ for fellow Kiwi Tony Herilhy who had to remain in New Zealand because of commitments there. Butt gave the son of Christian Cullen NZ the run of the race, but was unable to hold out the winner after Webster had followed the favourite for much of the event.
At the presentation after the race, a smiling Webster said this was the best way to celebrate a trip home.
“It was a real big thrill, with a big crowd here and a good atmosphere; so to win this big race is great,” he added.
The winning reinsman also pointed out that his stallion this season had so often been forced to chase after Melpark Major, the current boom pacer in Australia which is having a short let-up in preparation for the WATPAC 2009 Inter Dominion at the Gold Coast in March.
From the time Gotta Go Cullen NZ drew favourably off the front row, there was never a doubt this well performed Kiwi pacer would start favourite. Even with the scratching of In Monaco which gave another Victorian (Crimson Knight) a start from the pole, the favourite was expected to take up a forward position from gate three.
One of the most interesting starters making its first appearance in the southern States was the former American pacer Fox Valley Appeal USA, a winner of its past two starts, which included a 1:54.3 victory at Newcastle. The son of Sportsmaster (US) came Down Under with a US record of 1:50. It started on the inside of Mister Swinger on Saturday.
This imported pacer is trained in NSW by Adam Ruggari from Sawyers Gully and is also driven by him. It was sent out third favourite in betting, behind Gotta Go Cullen NZ and Mister Swinger.
When the mobile wings drew back, the Victorian Diamonds N Furs NZ flew the gate to lead out Fox Valley Appeal USA, with the favourite close handy and Crimson Knight pushing up to latch on to the back of the leader.
Once the field settled into position, Webster wasted little time in taking Mister Swinger around the field to lead the outside line. Other moves followed soon after, including Gavin Lang going forward with Manwarra Goforgold.
As soon as Anthony Butt saw the nose of Lang’s horse coming into view, he was off and going on Gotta Go Cullen NZ, making certain he would retain the one-out one-back position in this shuffle-up of those racing up front.
By now Webster had positioned Mister Swinger on the back of the leader. Finding himself pocketed going into the last lap, with Greg Sugars having moved around the field with Ti Vogliobene, it was then a matter of the former SA horseman being able to get clear at the right time.
Still caught up in traffic coming to the home-turn the final time, the cool-headed Webster was finally able to get clear with Mister Swinger, and the stallion charged home to get the better of the favourite close to the post.
Cincinnati Kid NZ, whose latest efforts were below par, had been allowed to race quietly back at the rear by Mark Peace. It finished powerfully up the home straight out wide to grab third place with a real eye-catching effort.
It was hard to find an unlucky starter among the 10 pacers, with the lone South Australian in the field, Conte De Cristo NZ (Paul Cavallaro), clocking in last.
It was one of the best fields Adelaide’s major race of the season has brought together for some years, and the club was well rewarded by a large attendance of enthusiasts.
Mister Swinger is the first of the progeny by Village Jasper to win a Group 1 event. The five-year-old is raced by its breeder, Peter Plummer. It has now won 19 of its 47 starts. Since joining the Webster stables, the horse has grown in stature.
The star-studded program – the best since Globe Derby Park last hosted an Inter Dominion – was a good night for Victorian horses.
The Bill Galea-trained Living On Fire held on to win the SEW Eurodrive SA Pacers Derby from Franco Newsman (David Murphy), with Mister Veejays Fella NZ (Lance Justice) the National Transport Insurance Pace. Billy Royle from its backmark of 30m, missed out in a photo finish to Gammel Dansk NZ in the Seelite Windows SA Trotters Cup.
Results: 2009 SKY CHANNEL SOUTH AUSTRALIAN PACING CUP
Mister Swinger (Geoff Webster), 1; Gotta Go Cullen NZ (Anthony
(Mark Peace), 3.