Smart stayer London Banker (NZ) (Tavistock) was back in the winner’s circle at Eagle Farm on Saturday when proving too slick for his rivals in the Gr.3 Tattersall’s Cup (2400m).
The Kelly Schweida-trained six-year-old strung together four wins in his first campaign for the Queensland horseman last spring and has been building to a winning performance this term.
Luckless when ninth after getting back in a sedately-run Gr.2 Q22 (2200m) at his most recent outing, jockey William Pike ensured the Tavistock gelding was more prominently positioned when camped behind a similarly slow tempo set by leader Seat Of Power (Sea The Stars) throughout.
With the pace-setter rolling off the fence coming around the home bend, London Banker took the shortest way home to run out a soft two-length winner from Seat Of Power, with Esti Feny (Pigeon Catcher) back in third.
Raced by Ron and Judy Wanless, London Banker is now likely to back-up in next week’s Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) after landing his first black-type success.
“You don’t like to get too far ahead of yourself but these two races we targeted – this race and the Caloundra Cup next week,” Schweida said.
“We gave him a really good break because he did a good job last preparation. It has taken him a little while, got the gun ride from Willie and well done to all the staff at home. They put in a lot of work.
“In running you wanted to be on him, you just didn’t want anything to go wrong. He looked good a long way out but that doesn’t always happen.
“We’ll go to the Caloundra Cup next week and will have an easy week. He’s backed up before and won. That’s been the plan all the way along.”
London Banker was a four-time winner from the stable of Roger James and Robert Wellwood before relocating to Schweida’s Eagle Farm operation and has held his form admirably from his new quarters.
He was a $100,000 purchase out of Kilgravin Lodge’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock yearling sale draft by James on behalf of Ron and Judy Wanless, who are good supporters of the New Zealand racing and breeding industry.
By the late Cambridge Stud stallion Tavistock, London Banker is the sire’s 37th individual stakes winner. He is out of Palos de Lago, an Encosta de Lago half-sister to star galloper El Segundo (NZ) (Pins).
The six-year-old advanced his record to nine wins from 28 starts and has now won in excess of A$400,000 in prizemoney.