Not So Swift comeback for smart galloper

AFTER 127 weeks on the sidelines with career-threatening injuries, group 2 winner So Swift makes his return to racing in a benchmark 90 race at Moonee Valley today.

The Symon Wilde-trained galloper So Swift (centre) is returning to the track after battling injuries for more than two years. Picture: THE AGE

The Symon Wilde-trained galloper So Swift (centre) is returning to the track after battling injuries for more than two years. Picture: THE AGE

The Warrnambool galloper appeared to have the racing world at his feet when he scored an impressive win in the 2011 group 2 $350,000 Sandown Guineas but tendon injuries and a throat operation stopped those dreams of his owners.

Trainer Symon Wilde said So Swift’s comeback had been a long and winding road and was only possible through the patience of his owners.

“It’s taken So Swift a long time to get back to racing. The whole journey has been very frustrating for everyone. He just showed so much ability as a young horse, the owners just said we’ll just keep on pushing forward with him. The owners have been very understanding,” Wilde said. “So Swift’s injuries started off with one tendon going and then he needed a major throat operation before he bowed his other tendon. We reckon we’ve got him pretty right now but I reckon he’ll need a run or two before he’s at match fitness.”

The young Warrnambool trainer said the six-year-old has slowly progressed to having a run in today’s 1200-metre race.

“We have not rushed him at any stage. It’s been a long slow build up to today. We gave him a jumpout at Geelong last week and he pulled up well. He had other jumpouts at Coleraine and Casterton over the past few weeks,” Wilde said. “So Swift is showing no signs of soreness in his tendons. I had him entered at Mildura but decided to take him to town for his first-up run. We’ve got no big plans. We’ll just be taking it one step at a time at this stage.”

Meanwhile, Aaron Purcell will decide this morning if his imported galloper King Of Dudes runs in an $80,000 flat race over 2500 metres at Moonee Valley today or is saved for a $50,000 rookie hurdle race at Warrnambool on Monday.

“I reckon King Of Dudes has been harshly treated by the handicapper in the hurdle on Monday. He’s given him 70kg. He’s given a lot of weight compared to top flat performers like Moudre and Hissing Sid in the hurdle,” Purcell said. “King Of Dudes has been weighted on potential in the hurdle instead of his performances. I might run him on the flat at the Valley but I’ll just wait and see how he is this morning before making a final decision.”

Promising stayer St Jean is second emergency for Purcell in an $80,000 open handicap at Moonee Valley but the Warrnambool trainer is unperturbed if the five-year-old fails to get a run in the 1500-metre race.

“We’re looking at starting off his spring campaign if it’s not today it might be in town on Wednesday or on Saturday,” he said.

Talented Woolsthorpe-bred mare Girl Guide kicks off her spring preparation in an $80,000 mares’ race. Girl Guide, a half sister to the smart sprinter Gregers, has won four of her six starts. Champion jockey Craig Williams rides the five-year-old in the 1200-metre race today.

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