Sultan in the swing of Australian racing

Sultan Of Swing continues to prove his adaptability since making a smooth transition from New Zealand for ex-pat trainer Craig Ritchie.

This has been far from a standard preparation for the four-year-old gelding, who started his campaign at Ellerslie in Auckland last November with Ritchie’s brother Shaune.

He made his Australian debut at Doomben in June when he ran second last in the Listed Singapore TC Members’ Handicap (1600m).

Sultan Of Swing then finished runner-up to Louie Sea Kay in a 1500 metre Benchmark at Rosehill and the Ritchies decided to move him to Craig’s operation at Warwick Farm.

He marked his debut for the stable with a fourth over 1600m on a heavy Randwick track on June 24 and is expected to find the going easier in Saturday’s Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill.

“He tends to lay in under pressure on wet tracks. The forecast is in our favour. It should be a good three by Saturday,” Ritchie said.

While heavy ground doesn’t suit, Sultan Of Swing has shown versatility regarding his racing pattern.

“Shaune thought he would go forward at Rosehill. He ended up about second last and he got home really well,” Ritchie said.

“In a fast-run race he’s better off ridden off the speed.”

Sultan Of Swing has drawn barrier 10 in the 11-horse field.

Although Sultan Of Swing has never raced further than 1600m, Ritchie thinks he can branch out to 2000m, a process that starts with the Premier’s Cup Prelude (1800m) at Rosehill on August 12.

“I think the way he’s relaxed in his two runs here in Sydney, it shouldn’t be a problem for him to get the trip,” Ritchie said.

Apprentice James Innes Jr rode Sultan Of Swing for the first time at Randwick and Ritchie said he would be retained for the foreseeable future.

“He can’t claim on Saturday but he was pretty taken with the horse and we are quite keen to have somebody that could stick with him,” he said.

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