The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Trainer Anthony Cummings said his gifted galloper Smart Missile had returned “bigger and stronger” than last season and named a handful of Group 1 Spring Carnival features as likely targets including the Golden Rose, Caulfield Guineas and the iconic Cox Plate 2011.
One of the most promising two-year-olds during the autumn, Fastnet Rock colt Smart Missile is undefeated in their two career starts but is also an untapped talent with their potential far from fully realised due to a spoiled campaign last season.
Winner of the Listed NSW Breeders Plate (1000m) at Randwick in October last year, Smart Missile was bought back in March but had their prep limited to just one run.
That one run was spectacular, however, Smart Missile scoring a massive boilover when defeating subsequent Golden Slipper winner Sepoy in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill.
Smart Missile is the only horse able to claim the scalp of the Peter Snowden-trained champion Sepoy so far, and narrowly missed out on the chance to prove his Group 1 claims when scratched at the barriers from the Golden Slipper showdown.
Their autumn was further derailed when after pulling up sore from a track gallop, Smart Missile was also unable to contest the Group 1 AJC Sires Produce Stakes on Derby Day.
Cummings reported that Smart Missile had come back in excellent form and was ready for an ambitious spring assault that would include thoroughbred majors during both the Sydney and Melbourne Spring Racing Carnivals.
The colt’s first Group 1 assignment is also the first Group 1 of the new season, the 2011 Golden Rose.
Offering $1 million in prize money, the Golden Rose will run over 1400 metres at Rosehill on September 10 and in the pre-field betting Smart Missile is the $5.50 second favourite behind Sepoy ($4).
Despite Sepoy being installed at the top of the Golden Rose odds, Snowden has said he is leaning towards a Melbourne-only spring preparation with Sepoy.
The non-acceptance of Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper winner Sepoy for the Golden Rose would force Smart Missile into odds-on territory.
After a likely trial on August 5, Cummings named the $125,000 Group 3 Run to the Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on August 27 has the first-up run for Smart Missile, the traditional lead-up race before the coveted Golden Rose.
For both of the Rose races, ace hoop Glen Boss has been confirmed as Smart Missile’s jockey.
Boss rode the horse for their last-start victory in the Todman Stakes, and has opted to miss the ride on Danny O’Brien’s Australian Guineas – AJC Derby winning filly Shamrocker to partner with Smart Missile for the resuming run.
Shamrocker is also scheduled to race first-up at Rosehill Gardens on August 27 in the $200,000 Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m), and despite the O’Reilly filly having handed Boss a Group 1 double in the autumn he has chosen to ride Smart Missile that day.
Boss believed Smart Missile had the X-Factor and was excited to pair with them again.
“Things happen for a reason,” Boss said in regards to Smart Missile’s marred autumn campaign.
“He’s had a nice break now.
“Anthony says he’s never trained a better athlete and Anthony’s had some nice horses.”
Cummings said he would use Smart Missile’s run in the Golden Rose as a guide for the remainder of the season.
“The Golden Rose will give us a bit of a guide on whether we should be looking at a Caulfield Guineas-Cox Plate type preparation or if it looks like he will be better suited over the shorter trips we can aim at the Coolmore,” Cummings said in regards to Smart Missile’s spring prep.
The $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) runs during the Melbourne Spring Carnival on October 8, followed by the richest weight-for-age race in Australasia, the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Plan B for Smart Missile as named by Cummings will be the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, Saturday October 29.
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