Smith’s stablemates, veteran galloper Hume and Guineas winner Za Magic, are both acceptors for the $45,000 Bank of Queensland New Farm Two Metro Wins-Last Year Handicap (1500m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday, and both will be just third-up after lengthy injury-enforced spells.
Of the duo, Zabeel seven-year-old Hume is the most notable.
In 2009, Hume emerged as a stayer to watch when they secured their maiden stakes success in the Group 3 Tatt’s Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm during the winter.
During the spring of that year, Hume further stamped their staying potential when finishing a game second behind subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Shocking in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
At their final spring run after missing a start in the 2010 Melbourne Cup, Hume was beaten just three and a half lengths when fifth to Sterling Prince in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2500m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, before a nasty tendon injury forced them to spend over one and a half years on the sidelines.
“It wasn’t really serious but we have to take him day-by-day,” Smith said of Hume and his injured tendon.
Hume was next seen at Eagle Farm in June 4 of this year, where their first-up run produced a ninth place finish to upset winner Varenna Miss in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m).
The result was more credible than their placing suggests, Hume bouncing back after being checked near the 800 metre mark and coming within four and a half lengths of Varenna Miss in a powerful finish despite being blocked for a run throughout.
Last start, Hume ran 13th of 18 runners in the Listed Tatt’s Club Mile (1600m), won by Frozone at Eagle Farm on June 25.
“The mile second-up was a hard task and he’s down in grade this week,” Smith said.
Now they will get their chance to show some of their promising form from before their time on the sidelines this weekend.
Hume is the 59kg topweight of Saturday’s race and will be ridden from their nice barrier four draw by apprentice hoop Ashley Butler.
“I think he’s ready to do what he’s got to do in this grade, I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t run well,” Smith admitted.
Magic Albert gelding Za Magic also suffered a nasty career setback in 2009.
Originally under the preparation of Maryann Thexton, Za Magic was a Magic Millions winner on debut at the Gold Coast in 2008.
They became a name among Thexton’s stables when they won the Group 3 Doomben Classic (1615m) in May of 2009 and later bounced back from a disappointing 13th place finish behind Court Ruler in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) of 2009 to win the Listed Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) by nearly five lengths that campaign.
Following that run, Za Magic was forced out of the racing scene.
“He had a bad injury before I got to train him,” Smith said.
Sent to Smith, Za Magic resumed on June 1 at Doomben when 14th to Zippy Loy in the Bollinger Handicap (1350m).
Next start they were also well below par when finishing dead last in the Hamilton Hotel Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 25, but Smith is hopeful they can show improvement on Saturday after Za Magic drew ideally in barrier two for Eagle Farm Race 4.
“He’s been progressing well, there is nothing wrong with him but he seems to be a bit dour and I think he might need a bit further still,” Smith said.
Markets for Eagle Farm Race 4 are lead by John Petersen’s Street Cry mare Zippy Lou and the Robert Heathcote-trained Bel Esprit gelding Work The Room who are the equal $4.80 favourites.
Hume is rated an $11 chance while Za Magic is a $51 roughie.