Day At The Track

Geoff Webster swings by home for cup

09:10 AM 08 Jan 2009 NZDT
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He might now have a Victorian postal address, but Geoff Webster remains a staunch South Australian. Although based at Bannockburn, about 20km out of Geelong, the 53-year-old will forever be remembered as one of South Australia's most successful trainer-drivers.

Half-a-dozen South Australian drivers' premierships and his share of trainers' titles attest to that, but what has proven harder is winning Adelaide's premier event - the Sky Channel South Australian Cup.

For all his success, Webster's only SA Cup win came when $17 chance Ryans Day upset a field including three-time Inter Dominion winner Our Sir Vancelot a decade ago.

He hopes to amend that on Saturday night when he gears up Mister Swinger for the Barastoc Grand Circuit event.

"It's always nice to win your hometown cup, so it would be great if we can go over there and win it again," Webster said while passing through Tailem Bend en route to Adelaide.

The star five-year-old, an impressive third placegetter in last month's SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup, opened the $3.50 favourite in TAB Sportsbet's fixed odds market on the $100,000 Group 1 event.

And despite finishing in the second half of the field behind Bold Cruiser in last week's Moonee Valley Cup, Webster said the entire was primed to run a big race inthe2645m event.

He likened last weekend's performance to Mister Swinger's final Victoria Cup lead-up, when he finished sixth in the Popular Alm Free-For-All.

"He didn't have any luck last week and ended up three wide for the last 1100 or 1200m and he battled away quite well," Webster said.

"He ran home in 55.4 (seconds) for his last half, which was exactly his time in the other race (Popular Alm) and you can't do any more than that when you're out three wide."

As happy as he is with Mister Swinger, Webster is well aware of the depth to this year's SA Cup, the feature event on a nine-race card that will be run at 9.22pmEDST.

Despite finishing immediately in front of Mister Swinger in the Victoria Cup and being drawn better in barrier three, Kiwi millionaire Gotta Go Cullen has to settle for the second line of betting at $3.75.

Diamonds N Furs, who has gate two but will come into one if emergency Crimson Knight doesn't get a run, occupies the third line at $6, while Ti Vogliobene ($6.50, barrier eight) and Manwarra Goforgold ($7.50, seven) are also prominent.

Brad Bishop

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