SMART Ain’t He stumbled badly, his rider nearly slipped out of the saddle, and trainer Anthony Cummings admitted he thought the race was a lost cause.
But Smart Ain’t He’s effort to recover from the mid-race incident and break his maiden at Canterbury last start indicated he is a sprinter with above average ability.
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Therefore, it is understandable Cummings has a growing confidence that Smart Ain’t He can win again in the #TheRaces Handicap (1250m) at Canterbury Park on Wednesday.
“I must admit I sold out when Smart Ain’t He lost his momentum the other day,’’ Cummings said. “But it was a big effort by horse and rider to drag themselves back into it.
RAY THOMAS’S BEST BETS
BEST BET: STAR OF THE SEAS (Race 4, No. 7)
Is only lightly raced but shows considerable potential. He resumed with a dominant maiden win at Warwick Farm last month, scoring with real authority. The placegetters out of that race have run well at their next starts albeit without winning. Star Of The Seas jumps sharply in grade to a benchmark 74 today and he is a awkwardly drawn but I still believe he will prove too good again.
LATEST BETTING: TAB FIXED ODDS
NEXT BEST: ARAMAYO (Race 1, No. 1)
Made his debut in a 1400m Kembla maiden and after settling back in the field, he was forced wide on the turn before fighting out the finish with Navigator, going under by a half length. Aramayo wanted to hang in under pressure so he should take benefit from that race experience. Navigator has since won again to frank the form. Aramayo should have no problem coping with the step up to 1500m.
VALUE BET: EL DORADO MINE (Race 7, No. 6)
Part-owned by Channel 9’s Footy Show host Erin Molan, got too far back at Canterbury over 1550m last start but he stretched out impressively late to run a close sixth to Gaugin. Although El Dorado Mine has never won or raced beyond 1600m he gives the impression he is looking for 1900m now.
Race 4: 2,7,9
Race 5: 4,5,9,10
Race 6: 5,6,8
Race 7: 1,2,6,12
TRAINER TO FOLLOW
CHRIS WALLER prepared four winners at the Warwick Farm meeting last Wednesday then had a rare winless Saturday at Randwick. Sydney’s premier trainer has a strong team entered for Canterbury, including Star Of The Seas, Metamorphic and Scream Park in race 4, and Mad Fox, The Haussmann and Makdanife in race 5.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
JAMES MCDONALD has begun the new season with successive doubles at the first two meetings and he can continue his winning momentum at Canterbury. He has a full book of rides today including Churning (race 2), Metamorphic (race 4) and Foreign Territory (race 5).
SCROLL DOWN FOR SHAYNE O’CASS’ EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
“What happened was the rail had a ‘kink’ in one of the joints, the flange stuck out just a few millimetres but Blake (Shinn) hit it with his foot and knocked the stirrup out. It was a very good piece of riding by Blake altogether to regain balance and put the stirrup back in.
“As for the horse, to lose his balance and momentum then get going again and still win was exceptional — you don’t seem them do that too often.’’
With Shinn suspended, Cummings has booked Glyn Schofield to ride the emerging Smart Ain’t He on Wednesday. Smart Ain’t He is rated at generous odds of $15 in betting behind another promising young sprinter, Star Of The Seas at $2.90 favourite.
Cummings, who trains in partnership with his son Edward, has only sent Smart Ain’t He to the races three times with the gelding showing considerable improvement each start of his debut preparation.
“I trained the father, Smart Missile, and mother, Ain’t She Grand,’’ Cummings said. “With the sire, I feel tis progeny are better given time so we haven’t rushed Smart Ain’t He to the racetrack.
“He is showing the benefit of that now by putting together three very competitive runs. He was a little underdone at his first start but he has kept improving with each run.
“I think he is even better now and can keep going through the grades.’’
The Cummings stable also has Rockafella lining up in the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1100m). Rockafella, a fourth placegetter in three of his four starts this campaign, will race in blinkers and is rated at $13 behind favourite Junglized at $4.80.
“We’ve put a set of blinkers on him so he can focus a bit more in the early part of his races, hopefully he can settle a bit closer,’’ Cummings said.
“His finishing speeds have been excellent and he is really well in himself. All his runs bar one have been very good this preparation and I expect him to race competitively again.
“I’m not worried he is coming back to 1100m (from 1250m last start), I think with the blinkers on he will be fine. He’s a good lightweight chance.’’
Meantime, trainer Jason Coyle says the stars are aligning for Valentino Rossa — “Sydney’s unluckiest horse” — to finally score a win in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1900m).
The son of Testa Rossa is back in action seven days after unleashing his trademark barnstorming finish over the mile at Warwick Farm. Running out of room won’t be the issue for Valentino Rossa over 1900m.
“He is one of those horses that needs a lot of things to go his way,’’ Coyle said. “Unfortunately he comes up that length and a half short when they don’t go his way. He’s been up over a journey before and raced quite well.
“He came through that run seven days ago really well so there is probably never a better opportunity to test him over a trip again. He is drawn great, he has the claim, and if things fall his way, then he can win He’s just one of those horses at the moment.
“I think he is racing in really good order and he’s work at home is good. We’ve just got to cross our fingers and hope for a change of luck.”
Kathy O’Hara has the reins on Coyle’s other two Canterbury runners, Speed Hero and You Make Me Smile, whom she has ridden to all three of his wins.
“I am not sure if You Make Me Smile is looking for a bit more cut out of the ground or possibly looking to be gelded,’’ Coyle said. “I just though he was as shade disappointing at his last couple but back to 1250m from a nice draw he should get every opportunity.’’
INSIDE MAIL WITH SHAYNE O’CASS
RACE 1 (1.20pm)
1. Aramayo could find herself in the Wakeful/VRC Oaks later this spring such are her credentials being a half sister to ATC Derby runner-up Tupac Amaru. On top of that, her dam is a half sister to In The Wings. Aramayo was doing her best work late when 0.5 lengths second in a 1400m maiden at Kembla. Surely the extra trip is ideal. 6. The Summit has plenty of scope for the longer race. A daughter of the great So You Think, The Summit was sixth in the race that Horn was third in but was the better run.
BET STRATEGY: ARAMAYO win; Exacta 2 to beat 6; Quinella 2,6.
RACE 2 (1.55pm)
Team Hawkes-trained debutant 1. Brilliant Choice was a $600,000 yearling purchase. The son of Redoute’s Choice has looked the part in all of his three trials. Lonhro filly 5. Churning was very good here on debut behind Jen Rules then was OK in the Rosebud without really ever looking likely. Down in class here — she is a handy sort. Churning was the one they backed (on Tuesday) at the expense of Brilliant Choice.
BET STRATEGY: BRILLIANT CHOICE win; Exacta 1 to beat 5; Quinella 1,5.
RACE 3 (2.30pm)
6. Symi, named after a Greek island, is a big talent. She was sold in January 2017 at the Magic Millions for $700,000, then not long after that, her sister — Catchy — came out and won the Blue Diamond. This Team Hawkes/Alan Bell filly oozes class and quality, and she is destined for bigger and better things than a midweeker. The Mark Newnham-trained 3. Greysful Glamour did a great job in her first campaign. Godolphin filly 1. Couvre Lit was disappointing at Wyong first-up but can atone. She was scratched from Saturday at Royal Randwick for this.
BET STRATEGY: SYMI win.
RACE 4 (3.05pm)
5. Tears In Heaven caught the eye when threading her way through some tight spots to finish 1.6 lengths from Smartedge in a 1200m race on July 25. The Tracey Bartley-trained 8YO has the good second-up numbers of 6s 2-1-1. The Chris Waller-trained 4. Scream Park has been gelded since he last appeared. Only had one trial, but it was a good one. Market watch essential. 11. Michelle’s Gift powered home here two starts ago; up in class but down 6.5kg on the last outing.
BET STRATEGY: TEARS IN HEAVEN each-way.
RACE 5 (3.40pm)
Gerald Ryan holds the key with his two mares 9. Mollyfied and 8. Love’s A Fantasy. Mollyfied is an honest on-pace style mare who has drawn the ideal barrier in gate three. She stuck on gamely over the 1600m last start, knocking off 50m here can only assist her winning prospects. Love’s A Fantasy didn’t do much at the Farm first-up but the blinkers go on (first time). Don’t dismiss. 10. Mad Fox is costly but can figure without surprising.
BET STRATEGY: MOLLYFIELD each-way; LOVE’S A FANTASY each-way; Quinella 8,9
RACE 6 (4.15pm)
All eyes will be on the Godolphin galloper 11. Esperance who makes his Sydney debut having done all of his racing so far down south, including his eight lengths win on debut at Echuca. Made the grade in stakes-races after that. Trial was good — the barrier is bad. Brad Widdup pair 8. Za Zi Ba and 6. Junglized will be hard to beat. 3. Miss Wonderland, 1. Jetwings both trialled nicely.
BET STRATEGY: ESPERANCE each-way; Box trifecta 1,3,6,7,11.
RACE 7 (4.50pm)
Hoping for a fast run race here so three of the backmarkers can sweep home over the top namely 9. Newtown Bluebag, 16. Le Cavalier and the eternally unlucky 2. Valentino Rossa. All three have flashed up late in their respective races — luck in running may decide which one of the trio, if any, get the prize.
BET STRATEGY: NEWTOWN BLUEBAG each-way; LE CAVALIER each-way; Quinella 9,16; Box trifecta 2,9,11,16.