Hardy galloper Sultan Of Swing capped a somewhat bizarre day at Te Rapa when he took out the Group 3 J Swap Contractors Sprint (1400m) after a substantial delay in proceedings.
The meeting had looked in jeopardy of being called off after racing was put on hold for an hour following a cloud-burst that saw torrential rain soak the Te Rapa track shortly after the running of the Group 3 SkyCity Hamilton Waikato Cup.
It continued the frustrations being experienced by the large on-course crowd with the Te Rapa grandstand having to be evacuated twice during the day after a fire alarm was deliberately activated.
A pre-race inspection saw the track downgraded to a Dead6 prior to the feature sprint which had Sultan Of Swing’s trainer Shaune Ritchie concerned the soggy conditions would play against his charge.
“It’s funny as last time he threw it away,” Ritchie said, referring to the gelding’s narrow defeat at Tauranga last month.
“He was coasting in front then looked at the rail and raced like a green two-year-old.
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“He’s got it right today although the rain worried me as I wasn’t sure he would handle it.
“He was dreadful in the Easter Handicap on a heavy track but they obviously can still get their toe in today.”
A winner now of eight of his 27 raceday starts, Sultan Of Swing took his prizemoney tally to just shy of the $240,000 mark with the hard-fought victory.
Settled back in the nine-horse field the six-year-old Bachelor Duke gelding produced a dogged finish to out-last former Singapore galloper Magnum who looked the winner at the 100m mark before Sultan Of Swing got in the deciding stride.
“He will probably go to the Rich Hill Mile now,” Ritchie said.
“He’s getting back and finding the line so I’d like to try him over the mile now he is a year older.” The Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) is one of the feature events at Ellerslie on January 1.