A possible showdown between Australia’s turf queen Black Caviar and the only horse to have defeated gun colt Sepoy to date, Smart Missile, could eventuate during next year’s Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Having returned to work ahead of an ambitious autumn assault that could include as many as five Group 1 targets, Anthony Cummings’ Fastnet Rock three-year-old Smart Missile is reportedly in excellent form having put on a lot of condition over his short break.
“He came back yesterday (on Tuesday) and looks really good,” Cummings said of his triple stakes winner.
“He’s broader across his backside, broader across the shoulder and he just looks really healthy and well.”
Smart Millie, owned by the Goree Pastoral Syndicate, exploded onto the racing scene back in October last year winning the Listed NSW Breeders Plate (1000m) on debut at Randwick.
After a five and a half month spell the then two-year-old returned to the track to record his most notorious victory yet, a three quarter length upset over Darley’s subsequent Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper winner Sepoy in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m).
Connections missed out on the chance to have a Golden Slipper winner, however, when Smart Missile was sensationally scratched at the barriers of the world’s richest race for juveniles.
Another five month break followed, after which Smart Missile continued to live up to his boom status winning the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m) first-up in a big August return.
They failed at their next assignment, however, going down a head to Manawanui in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) on September 10.
A fortnight later and it was more heartache for Cummings’ and the owners when a horror barrier 17 of 17 draw saw Smart Missile fail to finish better than 10th to Toorak Toff in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) in their maiden Melbourne run at Caulfield.
Smart Missile was last seen running fifth when beaten seven lengths by another Darley-owned colt Helmet, heading overseas to join the famed Godolphin operation along with Sepoy next year, in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Cummings has confirmed that having been tested up to the mile, Smart Missile has shown that he is a straight out sprinter more than a middle-distance horse and his Sydney and Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival plans will reflect this.
All of the major elite level sprints have been tentatively penciled in, including Smart Missile’s first-up run in the $750,000 Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18, 2012.
At this stage the other Melbourne races on Smart Missile’s autumn agenda include the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 10 and the $500,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley two weeks later.
He will then head home to Sydney for the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 14 and the $400,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) also at Royal Randwick on April 28.
There is also a chance the youngster could come face-to-face with the undefeated sprint superstar Black Caviar, something Cummings said he would not shy away from despite the mare’s imposing record of 16 unbeaten runs to date.
“They’re both very good horses and she’s got the record on the board that we would like to have, so it would be interesting to see,” he said.
Follow all the action of the upcoming 2012 autumn racing season right here at Races.com.au and remember, the best place to go for all your betting needs is online bookmaker Luxbet.