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Age not slowing London Banker

Fri 17 May 2024

By Glenn Davis

Old warrior London Banker is showing no signs of age catching up with him ahead of his bid to win the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap at Doomben on Saturday.

Rising nine-year-old London Banker - a Damien Thornton mount - is on a path to the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup over 2400 metres at Eagle Farm on June 29 and Listed Caloundra Cup over the same trip a week later.

“He won the Tatt’s Cup and then ran fifth in the Caloundra Cup two years ago,” London Banker's trainer Kelly Schweida said.

“He’s getting older and age catches up with them all but he’s acting like he’s a two-year-old the way he’s bucking in the stables.

“He’s a lovely horse and we’ll aim him again for the Tatt’s and Caloundra Cups again.”

London Banker is a former New Zealander who did his early racing across the ditch before his owners Ron and Judy Wanless sent him to Queensland to be trained by Schweida.

He’s a half-brother to El Segundo who won four Group 1s including the Cox Plate in 2007.

London Banker hasn’t set the world on fire in his two starts this campaign and is coming off a last start ninth in the Listed Brisbane Handicap at Eagle Farm last month.

However, Schweida is not concerned with his recent form.

“He doesn’t get going until he gets up to 2200 metres,” he said.

Meanwhile, Schweida is sweating on further scratchings for Maid To Fit to scrape into the Listed Bright Shadow.

Schweida scratched Maid To Fit from Ipswich on Wednesday hoping the three-year-old could sneak into Saturday’s Listed Bright Shadow en route to her possible goal of the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara next month.

However, Maid To Fit was named fifth emergency in the Bright Shadow and remains a borderline chance of making the field following several scratchings.

“She’ll need a couple more scratchings to get in and If she doesn’t get a run then she’ll go around next week in a Benchmark 78 over 1100 metres,” Schweida said.

Maid To Fit is also bred in the purple as her mother Perfect Fit won six times from 1000 metres to 1600 metres including her biggest win in the Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha in 2016.

She also won at Group 2 level and was placed in the Group 1 Railway Stakes at Ellerslie and Group 1 Telegraph at Trentham in 2017.

A $725,000 buy at the Magic Millions sales in 2021, Maid To Fit is a monster mare standing 16.2 hands.

Maid To Fit  has won four of her 12 starts and hasn’t started since finishing third to Lady Laguna in the Fillies & Mares race at the Gold Coast in January.

The form line out of the race is strong as Lady Laguna has gone on to win a Group 3 and Group 1 race in Sydney.