Swain Has Worked Out Bender

Swain Has Worked Out Bender

24th December 2021

Bruce Stewart

Winton winner Bender hasn’t been the easiest horse but former Southland trainer Aaron Swain has found the key to the Sunshine Beach gelding, and it’s all about routine.

Bender warming up for Blair Orange

“He’s been a bit of a headache and needs one on one attention. He likes to be in a routine, and we’ve finally worked that out, so we do the same thing with him all the time. You can’t change anything, or he’ll start losing weight. You can’t put him in the stable, he likes being in a paddock with a mate and you must layer his food not mix it up. If he was a human, he’d be a bit ADHD,” Swain said.

Bender was initially trained by Kevin Chapman and is closely related to former New Zealand Cup winner Kym’s Girl. He qualified for Chapman before Swain took over in July of this year.

“He wasn’t suited to a bigger stable. I was only going to send him south if Chelsea (Faithful-Winton trainer) could look after him. I knew she’d give him the attention and put the polish on him.”

Swain now trains at Leeston and couldn’t attend today’s meeting but was confident of a good showing. From a front ine draw Bender was taken straight to the front by driver Blair Orange. With a lap to run Orange let Bender run along and he opened a sizeable gap from the chasing bunch.

“He’s good when he goes the one speed.”

Bender in front with a lap to run

Turning in, Bender had two lengths to spare from first starter and favourite Watchlist who had broken at the start and was putting in a sustained run three wide to challenge the leader. Bender held on to beat Watchlist by half a length.

Bender holds out Watchlist

Back after win number one

Winning connections with caretaker trainer Chelsea Faithful

The four-year-old is raced by a group of friends and rugby mates with the majority shareholding owned by Swain’s good mate Scott Leader.

“I’ve had a few horses with Scott, but we’ve always sold them before they’ve won races. He told me he wanted a majority share in this one so he could have a say in whether it was sold or not.”