Swayzee winning the 2023 Group 3 Mr Feelgood.
Reigning Blacks A Fake champion Jason Grimson has thrown down the gauntlet to the Leap To Fame team to prove who the top brother is in Saturday’s Grand Circuit event.
While the Leap To Fame juggernaut has rolled through the 2023 Constellations Carnival so far, Grimson’s Swayzee has quietly gone about his business and also been ultra-impressive in the Brisbane winter.
Swayzee is the year older half-brother to Grant Dixon’s boom colt Leap To Fame, both being out of dam Lettucereason.
Swayzee has only been with the leading barn of Grimson for a handful of starts – winning all five – with the most recent two coming around the Albion Park circuit.
The siblings jointly hold the 2138 metre track record at Albion Park, a time Swayzee set late last month before grabbing the 2023 Group 3 Mr Feelgood at his next appearance.
Grimson is training out of Darrel Graham’s facility during the carnival and the 30-year-old can see plenty of similarities between Leap To Fame and his gelding.
“They are both quite strong horses and when you wind them up, they are hard to stop,” Grimson said.
“Leap To Fame probably has the all-round game and is quite fast whereas my fella is strong and can run strong sectionals for a long way.”
While the market says Leap To Fame is unbeatable following his Sunshine Sprint triumph, Grimson and Swayzee were given some hope of an upset following Monday’s barrier draw.
Swayzee and reinsman Cameron Hart will begin from two on Saturday night and as soon as Grimson picked out his barrier, the cash came for the defending champion of the BAF.
“It’s a great draw for him. He’s not really quick off the gate, but he’s out of trouble there and hopefully he can work forward, find the front and run some serious time,” Grimson said.
“I’m certainly not afraid of Leap To Fame. I guess we’ll find out on Saturday night who the better brother is.
“My horse has just kept improving since he joined the stable and he’ll love the long trip. He’s so strong and he loves to just keep rolling along.
“Swayzee, if he gets out in front and keeps rolling, it is going to make it hard for anyone to get past him. Swayzee has been set for this race and he has built into it nicely, he just keeps improving every time he steps out.”
Grimson has recently taken promising Tasmanian teenager Mitch Ford under his wing at his stable.
Swayzee and connections after winning the 2023 Group 3 Mr Feelgood.
Ford has relocated to work under the multiple Group 1-winning conditioner as well as picking up as many outside drives as he can.
The 19-year-old Tasmanian reinsman has been busy working Grimson’s horse at the Grahams’ property and is eager to see Swayzee step out under the bright lights on Saturday.
“I really like Swayzee, he has been a nice horse ever since Jason got him,” the young driver said.
“He has put some nice wins on the board when we got him and the last couple of wins, they have been in tougher company.
“He seems to keep stepping up to the task. When Jason first got him, I think Jason thought Swayzee would do a job for him but the horse has exceeded his expectations just a little bit the way he has gone over the carnival up here.”
Grimson – who has won feature races for fun in recent years – has completely turned around the fortunes of five-year-old pacer Swayzee.
He did not win in his last eight attempts before Grimson picked him up.
Since then he has put five together in a line and is now the second favourite for a Grand Circuit event.
In his last start before he joined Grimson’s barn, he could not figure in the finish at Redcliffe’s ‘The Triangle’ on a Thursday afternoon.
“When we got him, he had a few issues and we have spent a lot of time on his back,” the top trainer said of Swayzee.
“He has had a sore back the whole time I have had on him, so we do a lot of maintenance work on him.
Swayzee with Jason Grimson and promising Tasmanian teenager Mitch Ford.
“We have got him looking quite good at the moment, he is looking healthy in his coat and he looks really good.”
While Grimson has won an array of features in recent years as a trainer, he rarely jumps in the bike himself on race day.
He made an unexpected appearance in the sulky at Albion Park late last month, which coincided with Swayzee scorching the track to set a new track record
The horseman admits that he had other thoughts in his mind, as well as winning that specific race on a Tuesday day meeting.
“I do not often get to go out and drive them, especially the nice ones,” Grimson said with a laugh.
“I went there knowing he could break the track record, just knowing what he had done leading up to it.
“I wanted to make a statement on that day as I was a little disappointed he did not get a run in the Patron’s Purse, so I wanted to go out there and let everyone know he was there.”
This time last year in the Sunshine State’s Grand Circuit event, Majestic Cruiser and Grimson caused a boilover in the 2022 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park after rolling favourite Spirit Of St Louis.
It is a carnival that will always bring back positive memories for Grimson and he believes he has the horse to make it back-to-back victories.
The Mr Feelgood triumph a fortnight ago is filling him with confidence.
“He only really wound up on the line, Cam went to pull him up and he was struggling to do that,” Grimson said.
“The 2680 metres for the Blacks A Fake will really suit him.”
As of Wednesday morning, Leap To Fame is a red-hot $1.35 shot in the Blacks A Fake with Swayzee the second public elect at $4.50.
By Jordan Gerrans