Racing: Savill's Swing expected to reach high mark

racing: The colt occupying favouritism for the Guineas and Derby will t oday be allotted international status
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The Independent Online
For the last three months, Peter Savill has forgotten he is the owner of Celtic Swing, which is rather like forgetting you have won the National Lottery.

It is a testament to Savill's winter workload that he has not been kept awake at nights by the thought of possessing potentially the finest racehorse the globe has ever seen.

In London today the British Horseracing Board's handicappers will reveal the official mark they have allocated for the unbeaten favourite for the 2,000 Guineas and Derby. It appears certain to be the highest rating ever awarded to a British two-year-old and the only doubt seems to be if it will overtake the mark that the ultimately disappointing French horse Arazi earned for his astonishing sidestepping performance in the 1991 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Savill's biggest worry today, however, may be if the water dispenser is functioning in his Miami office. The bespectacled figure is such a regular sight at Britain's tracks during the summer that it can be tempting to think he does little else but pick up his binoculars and go racing.

Savill, of course, got to this position of equine wealth by financing it elsewhere, an exercise that consumes him in the colder months. "It's really exciting to have the horse but at the moment I have other distractions which is good as there is no pointme worrying about things I have no control over," he said from America yesterday. "In the winter I haven't got a lot of time to worry about racing."

Savill's name is so-often prefixed in racing publications by Cayman Islands-based publisher that he might incorporate those four words as Christian names. The owner has offices in the Caribbean archipelago and Florida, and among his products are the magazines that slide down the netting on the back of aircraft seats alongside the paper bag.

Today's International Classifications may provide a somewhat esoteric exercise, but it will do no harm to Celtic Swing's eventual worth (stallion advertisements regularly place in neon the official rating they were awarded), as well as sharpen the minds of those who have forgotten what the colt actually achieved last summer.

After a four-length victory in the rather prosaic EBF Fin Me Oot Median Auction Stakes at Ayr on his debut, he gave a record-breaking display in Asoct's Hyperion Stakes and then captured the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. Twice he was steppedup in company, and twice he responded by extending his distance of superiority.

Savill believes, though, that programme may have been at a small price. "I saw a picture of him just after Doncaster and I thought he'd run up a little bit light," the owner said. "He's a tall horse but he's not particularly robust-looking and he looked as if he'd lost a fair amount of condition from having those two quick races."

However, according to Celtic Swing's trainer, who most people know as Lady Herries but whom Savill refers to as Anne, the horse now appears as though his muscles have been treated with a bicycle pump.

"He was let down gradually after Doncaster and he's been down with the trainer [at Angmering Park, Sussex] ever since," Savill said. "She's got a lot of nice paddocks that give the horses plenty of changes of scenery, that just let him relax and develop.He's put his weight and condition back on and Anne seems very pleased with him. He's really started to develop into his frame."

Celtic Swing may go for the Craven or Greenham Stakes as preparation for the 2,000 Guineas, or he may go for the Classic as his seasonal debut. In as little as 92 days' time we may know if the wonder horse has finally arrived or if the pile of false heroes is to get an addition.

Celtic Swing has not been cossetted this winter; in fact he has been just another face in the stable. "He's just come back in now and he's started in light work, just cantering," Savill said.

"I've told Anne to treat him like any other horse and if something goes wrong, it goes wrong. It can happen to any of them.

"The horse has got to make that transition from two to three but there is no reason why he shouldn't do that."

Such hope has been thrown on the rocks before, but now is still the time for Savill to dream. Today he will hope for a rating to match Arazi's, and pray that there will be no similarities in their subsequent careers.