Taking a long-shot
By TONY WHITE
GRAFTON trainer Bruce Swan is under no illusions at the task facing his giant gelding Concitare in today's $175,000 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) at Broadmeadow racetrack.
The six-year-old winner of the Coffs Harbour Cup is rated an outsider at 100-1, but Swan is quietly confident Concitare will acquit himself admirably. Swan has great faith in his charge.
"It's a very tough race, he's in the big time. You don't get many opportunities to have a crack at these type of races but the big horse deserves it," Swan said.
And if the equine behemoth can win the 99th running of the Group Three event, block your ears.
"If he wins you'll hear me screaming back in Grafton," the young trainer said.
Racing abounds in fateful twists and ironies.
Two months back Swan and the gelding's owners hit the depths of despair when an oversight by Swan resulted in Concitare not being nominated for his major goal, the $175,000 Grafton Cup.
A few weeks later and unwanted in the betting ring, Swan and the owners ? Queensland based Jamie and Kirsty Vincent, Jamie's brother Dougal and Eden-based Steve Lynch ? enjoyed a career high when Concitare, ridden by Chris Whiteley, brilliantly won the $70,000 Coffs Harbour Cup (2300m).The gelding's Coffs Harbour Cup win guaranteed free entry into the Newcastle feature and a chance at further glory.
Since the 1-1/4 length win Swan has plotted a course towards Newcastle.
Swan suggested there were excuses for Concitare's subsequent two average runs in Brisbane before the gelding bounced back with an impressive 1750m victory at Grafton on September 2.
"His form had a bit of a lapse in Brisbane but he was a victim of circumstances," Swan said.
"He stood up last start and has come up beautifully for this race, better than ever actually.
"I haven't done a lot with him since Grafton. He worked over 2600m on the course proper at Grafton on Monday and hit the line as good as he ever has over the last 600 metres.
"There is no pressure on us, it's a hard race and he's taking on some very good horses like Stormhill (Grafton Cup winner).
"But he drops to the minimum weight, he's got a good barrier (one) and a good jockey."
Concitare will be ridden by Dale Spriggs.
"Dale has only had a few rides for me but he's won on Concitare at Tamworth. He knows the track and how the horse races.
"I don't want Dale to go silly but Concitare can hopefully roll along and take up a forward position from the inside barrier."
Concitare was floated from Grafton to his Wyong base at 1am yesterday morning.
"He travelled down beautifully, no hiccups and has settled in well," Swan said.
Swan will also be hoping to erase a bitter memory from his only visit to Broadmeadow.
"I saddled up Fly Dubai in the Country Cup and he got beat a whisker by Spinning Con," he said.