Having been allocated just 53.5kgs for the feature race at Doomben, jockey Glenn Smith has revealed he has maintained an unbelievably strict diet for the last fortnight and is confident it will pay dividends when he partners Black Heart Bart in Saturday’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m).
A standout in his native Perth this year, Black Heart Bart returned to racing for four impressive and consecutive victories in the Listed Summer Scorcher (1000m), Listed Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m), Listed Pinjarra Classic (1300m) and Listed Bunbury Stakes (1400m).
Having proven he is up to the class when fourth in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide most recently on May 16th despite being caught at the tail of the field for most of the run, Smith has been thrilled to retain the ride on the son of Blackfriars in the 2015 Stradbroke Handicap and is confident the four-year-old figures as his best chance of breaking through for an elusive Group 1.
“I’ve won a lot of Listed and Group races but the elusive Group 1 hasn’t come in and it would mean a lot,” the 38-year-old told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“I’ve been on a diet since Doomben 10,000 Day (May 23rd) and I haven’t been eating breakfast or lunch and I basically just snack on some nuts and grapes during the day.
“Then for dinner I just have some fish or cold meat and some salad.
“Hopefully it will all be worth it and I’m looking forward to a proper meal and a couple of beers or red win on Saturday night.”
Posting a career total of seven wins and as many minors over his 19 career starts so far, Black Heart Bart stamped his claims as one to watch from his first full preparation through the early stages of 2014; highlighted by top three finishes in each of the Listed Magic Millions Yearling Challenge (1500m), Listed Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) and Listed JC Roberts Stakes (1800m).
Running second in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) on November 1st, Black Heart Bart was unlucky to miss his major summer target, the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) through a minor injury but responded in the best way possible in taking out his next two starts, including the Listed WA Stakes (1400m).
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering Black Heart Bart at 2015 Stradbroke Handicap odds of $10 for success prior to this morning’s barrier draw.