It was the perfect finale.
Champion King Of Swing paced himself into Miracle Mile history and retirement at Menangle tonight.
The Belinda McCarthy-trained seven-year-old became the first pacer to win three Miracle Miles – he won them in a row – in the 55-year history of Australia‘s greatest speed test.
Driver Luke McCarthy confirmed just moments after the win it was King Of Swing‘s last start before being retired to stud.
“That‘s it, yes … I didn’t get a chance to savour it, Jack (Callaghan, driving runner-up Spirit Of St Louis) got a bit too close to me,” he said.
It wasn’t the “procession” many expected with outsider Mach Dan burning across King Of Swing at the start and then McCarthy having to drive hard in between horses to keep out young Victorian star Bondi Lockdown from getting around him.
Once King Of Swing regained the lead, McCarthy steadied the tempo slightly with a 29sec second quarter, but they still ran a blistering 54.6sec first half.
McCarthy went for home at the top of the straight and King Of Swing held-on to beat the fast-finishing stablemate Spirit Of St Louis by 1.2m with Chariots Of Fire winner Better Eclipse running a fantastic third.
The mile rate on a slower than normal Menangle track was still a blazing 1min49.2sec.
“This is a huge thrill, doing what no other horse has done. He’s a champion this horse … what a way to go out,” McCarthy said.
“Belinda and I were so fortunate to get him. A lot of credit goes to Gary Hall Sr (former trainer) who sent him across and the owners have been so supportive ever since.
“We loved him from the day he got here. He won a Hunter Cup at his third start for us and never really looked back.”
Even before tonight’s win, King Of Swing was the only horse to have won the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile twice.
After moving to Team McCarthy, King Of Swing raced 32 times for a staggering 24 wins, four seconds, three thirds and a fifth.
He won the Group 1 Breeders Crown 2YO for his former NZ trainer Ray Green and then Group 1 WA Derby for Hall Sr before adding another nine Group 1 victories in the care of Belinda and Luke McCarthy.
And his third Miracle Mile kept his unbeaten record over a mile at Menangle intact. 12 starts for as many wins.
* Adam Hamilton is a paid contributor writing on harness racing for News Corp