Don't let the early market drift put you off Sultan Of Swing in the opener at Ellerslie today.

Because trainer Shaune Ritchie says his camp is going into the race confident.

Ritchie admits a horse of Sultan Of Swing's ability would usually be in the paddock at this stage of the season, preparing for the riches of spring and summer.

But a luckless run in the Easter Handicap last start coupled with a dead track today means Ritchie thinks he can get a late-season bonus with the six-year-old.


While his form isn't flash Sultan Of Swing has won eight races and nearly $250,000, competing in the Thorndon Mile, Rich Hill Mile and Easter this season.

"He was dead unlucky in the Easter and never got a gap," explains Ritchie.

"If he had I think he would have run top four. But we are lucky, the tracks have stayed better than we would have expected and he gets his chance this week.

"I think his best distance is 1400m but this is 1600m with a small field and I don't think they will go hard so the race looks ideal for him.

"I see he has drifted from about $3.90 to $4.50 but don't be put off by that, we still really like him."

The biggest problem facing Sultan Of Swing looks to be in-form mare Inscription, who gets 9kgs off him with Ashvin Goindasamy claiming 3kgs.

She has been very good with back to back wins in Rating 82 grade and while she can get back in her races the small field and light weight may negate that and her closing sectionals recently have been those of a mare ready for open class.

Ritchie also has stayer Bee Tee Junior returning in the $35,000 mile, a rare open handicap to kick off the Ellerslie card but it is juvenile filly Jennifer Eccles in the $50,000 Futurity Stakes that has him more excited. She was three wide for a long way on debut before finishing a brave third to Avadane and Long Jack, who sit alongside her at the head of the market today.


"She is a lovely filly, a stunning track worker who couldn't be more professional," explains Ritchie.

"She had never been right-handed but I don't think that will bother her and she has the perfect draw so she has to be a great chance.

"But win, lose or draw she will be going to the paddock on Monday because we think enough of her to set her for the best three-year-old fillies races next season."