Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
“Swingband has proved that he is the real deal, because he can stay and sprint,” declared trainer Ryan Bell after Michael Grantham had driven the gelding to a most impressive victory in the $50,000 Sales Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“I have always thought that he was good, but he proved tonight that he is one of the best ones,” said Bell. “The slow pace didn’t help his chances, but I was happy when I saw Micky G trusting his speed.”
Swingband, a $10.70 chance from out wide at barrier eight, was last in the field of twelve at the bell before he charged home from tenth at the 600m to loom dangerously, five wide on the home turn, before bursting to the front 110m from the post on his way to winning easily by just under two lengths from $10 chance Soho Santorini, who had trailed the pacemaker Seven No Trumps ($21) throughout.
Grantham admitted that he was far from confident when Swingband was last at the bell. “They walked after a quick lead time (36.5sec.), and I had to drive for a bit of luck, to be honest,” said Grantham. “He is one of the best three-year-olds I have driven.”
Bell said that Swingband would be set for the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic on March 25. “He will then probably have a month off before getting ready for the $100,000 Westbred Classic in September, and later the $200,000 WA Derby in November,” he said.
“So, it’s going to be a hard season for Swingband to maintain his form. But he is definitely the right horse.”
Swingband was purchased for $70,000 at the APG Perth yearling sale in 2020, and he now has had ten starts for five wins, three placings and $71,922 in prizemoney. He is by Alta Christiano and is the first foal out of Bettors Gem, who earned $103,276 from 11 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts.
Tricky Miki, the $1.70 favourite in Friday night’s classic, made an unsuccessful bid for the early lead before he raced without cover and wilted to finish tenth.