King Of Swing Photo by Dan Costello
What a way to cap the year.
King Of Swing is the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit champion following his brilliant display in the final leg of the season, the Gr.1 $175,660 TAB Blacks A Fake at Albion Park tonight (Saturday).
Following victories in the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile earlier this year, the star pacer held an insurmountable lead going into the Queensland feature, but connections were keen to put an exclamation mark against his name.
And that they did.
Starting as a dominant favourite, King Of Swing ($1.50) completely dominated his rivals when racing clear of Colt Thirty One ($7.50) and Turn It Up ($12) in the 2680m feature under a rain-soaked skyline.
King Of Swing is prepared by Sydney horseman Craig Cross and was again handled by regular reinsman Luke McCarthy.
Allowed to float off the arm at release point, King Of Swing raced wide early before obtaining the position outside the leader at the 2200m mark.
Former New Zealand pacer Turn It Up showed blinding gate speed to lead from his outside draw while his stablemate One Change landed the trail on his back.
The lead time was covered in 80.6 seconds.
With a moderate speed being set, McCarthy chased hard for the lead and secured it from Turn It Up as the field raced off the back straight.
The first quarter of the final mile was timed in 29.7 seconds.
As King Of Swing settled into the lead role, local hero Colt Thirty One made his move three-wide and swept around the field before parking outside the favourite.
The second split was timed in 31.7 seconds.
Effectively, the race was all but over from that point.
Heading down the back straight, King Of Swing traveled sweetly as his rivals faced an incredible challenge of trying to run him down.
The third quarter was a sedate 29.1 seconds.
At the home turn, McCarthy allowed King Of Swing to stride and he responded by shooting clear of his rivals while scoring by a widening margin of 12.4 metres over Colt Thirty One who finished a half head in front of Turn It Up.
The final 400m metres was timed in a blistering 26.2 seconds.
The winning time was 3:17.3 with the winning mile rate being 1:58.5.
“It’s a great way to be crowned Grand Circuit champion, he’s been awesome all year and winning this title as a stallion is a big thing for connections,” McCarthy said.
“He’s such a smart horse, he’s part human and has a great demeanor. He handled the trip up really well and took in the new surroundings like he’d been here before, it’s a real thrill to be part of his team.”
McCarthy, who commenced his driving career in the Sunshine State almost twenty years ago, has now won the state’s signature event nine times.
He rates Albion Park as his favourite track.
His list of previous winners includes Cobbity Classic, Slipnslide (x 2), Mr Feelgood (x 2), Washakie, Ideal Scott and For A Reason.
King Of Swing ended the APG Grand Circuit season with 360 points, well clear of nearest rivals Cruz Bromac (175) and Lochinvar Art (164).
Since transferring from the Perth stables of Gary Hall Snr, King Of Swing has raced 13 times for the Cobbitty Equine outfit for 10 wins while being the runner-up in the other three starts.
The Rocknroll Hanover entire has banked more than $1 million this year.
King Of Swing is raced by Beth Richardson, Mark Congerton, Go Racing (Mick Harvey), Karen Hall, Glen Moore, Sylvie Macgregor plus Rob & Frank Patriarca.