Smerdon to Blame for Spinderbella Scratching in 2014 Ballarat Cup

Five-year-old mare Spinderbella was favourite to win the $200,000 Ballarat Cup (2200m) on Saturday but confusion in the mounting yard saw her scratched from the race late in the game.

Trainer Robert Smerdon blames himself for the late scratching of Spinderbella from the Ballarat Cup on the weekend after a case of miscommunication.

Trainer Robert Smerdon blames himself for the late scratching of Spinderbella from the Ballarat Cup on the weekend after a case of miscommunication. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Hoop Chad Schofield reported to the veterinary surgeon behind the barriers that Spinderbella’s action wasn’t right and she was subsequently withdrawn from the race, which Mujadale went on to win.

Spinderbella’s trainer Robert Smerdon told Racing Network on Tuesday morning that it was his fault for the scratching, not Schofield’s or the mare itself.

The trainer revealed that it is usual for the five-year-old mare’s action to feel unusual during her warm-up and he forget to warn Schofield of it.

“I should have told him that her normal gait is not normal,” Smerdon explained.

“She warms up a bit scratchy and always does.

“Bossy (rider Glen Boss) and Dwayne Dunn have since told me she is always a bit short in her action, but that’s just her, that’s the way she has always been.

“It was my error, I should have told Chad before the race, and I don’t blame him, he did the right thing, it was just one of those things.”

Spinderbella has had a successful campaign after nine months off the course, finishing second in a BM78 over 1600m at Mornington first up in September. She then won a BM84 over 1800m later that month before a minor placing in the Inglis Pinker Pinker Plate (2080m). The mare is a last start winner of the LF Sign Group Handicap (2040m) and will now look to win the $80,000 Benchmark 96 (2040m) at Moonee Valley this Saturday after missing the 2014 Ballarat Cup – a race that is over the same course and distance as her last win. Craig Williams has been booked to ride.

Smerdon’s vet examined Spinderbella last Saturday morning and has been given the all-clear to run.

“He even went down to her stall on Saturday after she was scratched and looked at her and told me she was fine – nothing wrong with her,” he said.

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