Sultan Of Swing ready for Easter

Sultan Of Swing (Sam Weatherley) earning his tilt at the Manco Easter Stakes with a game win yesterday.

Sultan Of Swing (Sam Weatherley) earning his tilt at the Manco Easter Stakes with a game win yesterday.

Talented Cambridge galloper Sultan Of Swing showed he is ready for his biggest challenge in the Manco Easter Stakes when he continued on his winning way at Ellerslie yesterday.

The Bachelor Duke gelding made it four wins from just eight starts at Ellerslie when he dominated proceedings in the final stages to claim the Celebrating Chenille 1500.

Handled by apprentice Sam Weatherley, the four-year-old used good early speed to sit outside leader Prince Mambo before issuing a serious challenge as the pair entered the home straight.

He then quickly assumed control and, although hotly challenged in the last few bounds by race favourite Go Nicholas, he held his rival at bay.

“He got the run of the race and with the apprentice claim it meant he was always going to be hard to catch,” said trainer Shaune Ritchie.

“He won in a similar fashion last time when he made all the pace so we decided that similar tactics could do the job and so it proved.

“He loves it at Ellerslie and when you can run the times like that from in front it does make you awfully tough to bowl.”

Ritchie confirmed the Gr. 2 Manco Easter Stakes would be the next assignment for his charge, although he did feel the horse was poorly placed due to the set weights and penalties conditions of the event.

“The Easter is the logical race for him but when he has to carry the same weight as a horse like Natuzzi, who has won nearly three times as many races, it does seem a little crazy,” he said.

“It used to be a real art to getting a horse like our guy into those big handicaps on a light weight, but the change to so many of our best races to these types of conditions has all but negated that skill now.”

Ritchie’s attention will now turn to Sydney next weekend as his Australian Oaks candidate Devise gets set to make her way across the Tasman tomorrow.

“We are hopeful of a top performance in the Oaks,” he said.

“The New Zealand three-year-olds seem to have the measure of the Aussies in recent years and our biggest threat looks like being another kiwi in Bonneval.

“She got the better of us in the New Zealand Oaks so we would like to turn the tables on her this time.”

The $1m Gr. 1 Australian Oaks is one of the feature events on the second day of The Championships at Royal Randwick next Saturday.

NZ Racing Desk