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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Impressive last-start winners The Miki Taker and Swingband look set for a fierce battle when they clash in the group 3 $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The Miki Taker has drawn favourably at the No. 2 barrier, with Swingband drawing the No. 4 barrier.

Talented trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo is delighted at The Miki Taker’s barrier, saying: “It’s a good barrier for him, with Swingband at four, and I hope to use the good barrier to advantage, with the plan being to jump to the front and set the pace with The Miki Taker.”

The Miki Taker sustained his excellent form and notched his sixth win when he started from barrier seven, raced without cover for the first lap and then set the pace before winning by a head from stablemate Rock On Top over 2130m last Friday night.

Rock On Top came from sixth at the bell to pass The Miki Taker and lead by a half-length 380m from home last Friday night before The Miki Taker dug deep to regain the lead and score a narrow victory at a smart rate of 1.55.6 after covering the final 400m section in 28.2sec. and 28.3sec.

“The Miki Taker has pulled up really well after his win, and I expect him to improve on that run,” said de Campo. “It was his first run for two weeks and he was a bit lazy. He tends to race sharper week-in, week-out.”

Swingband, trained by Ryan Bell and to be driven by Michael Grantham, won for the fifth time from ten starts when he was last in a field of twelve at the bell before finishing powerfully from tenth at the 600m and going five wide on the turn on his way to defeating Soho Santorini by two lengths, rating 1.57.4. Swingband was timed to run his final 800m in 55.5sec. and the last 400m in 28.4sec.

A week earlier Swingband raced in the breeze for much of the 2130m trip when a fighting second, a length behind the pacemaker Floewriter, who sprinted over the final 400m in 26.9sec. The Miki Taker was a nose behind Swingband in third place. He was extremely unlucky, being hopeless blocked for a run in the final stages of the race.

Chris Lewis has given punters a good lead by opting to drive Jackpot Joe (barrier five) in preference to Mister Montblanc (barrier three).

Jackpot Joe, a winner at five of his ten starts for Busselton trainer Barry Howlett, enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, when fourth behind The Miki Taker last Friday night when having his first start for a month.

“Jackpot Joe needed the run last week, and, hopefully, he will improve on that,” said Lewis. “It’s a difficult race, and he will need a bit of luck.”

Soho Santorini, trained and driven by Kim Prentice, warmed up for this week’s race with a solid second to Swingband last Friday week. But his prospects have been affected by a wide barrier, out at No. 8.

“The wide draw is definitely no help,” said Prentice. “I’ll go back and take short cuts. Soho Santorini has ability, but the draw makes it hard. We’ll duck and weave.”