Rockhampton-based trainer Tom Smith will be hoping his recent run of form can continue when he saddles up two runners at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The 21-year-old is fresh off claiming the local trainer’s bonus at Rockhampton during June thanks to two wins and five minor placings over the four days of the Tattersall’s Cup and Rockhampton Cup meetings, so he is now ready to aim that little bit higher.
Both Better Rain and I Am Clever travelled to Brisbane on Wednesday morning and have settled in well ahead of Saturday’s race meeting.
Two-year-old gelding Better Rain boasts some quality form with runner-up performances behind three high-class gallopers, including She’sgottheboom in the $500,000 QTIS 2YO Jewel earlier in the year.
Now out to 1400m for the first time, Smith is confident that his son of Better Than Ready can prove he is one of the better Queensland youngsters of his age.
“I think he’s great value at about the 10 bucks,” Smith told HorseBetting.
“He’s been beaten more than he’s won, but the times he’s been beaten, he’s been beaten by a few handy ones – She’sgottheboom, Missile Thunder and All That Pizzazz, who won really convincingly down here (at Doomben) last Saturday – so I think he’s got the right formlines going into the race.
“He’s going to jump from barrier one, and I think he will be there in the finish.”
From his eight starts, Better Rain has won three and finished second on the other five occasions, and the trainer is of the belief that he will hold his own on Saturday at metropolitan level.
After a terrific first-up second to the unbeaten Missile Thunder in a $100,000 race at Townsville, Smith said a trip to Brisbane was always on the back of his mind for his $39,000 Magic Millions March sales purchase.
“When he ran a great race in Townsville, we knew we were going to get weight in Rocky and wanted to pick the eyes out of the races down here and find the right one,” he said.
“The 1400m two-year-old race – the last two-year-old race of the season – looked the right one, so we’ve targeted it and we’ve ended up here.
“We’ll certainly roll forward. I don’t think we’ll lead, but we’ll be handy or thereabouts – definitely in the first half of the field anyway.”
Race 3 – #1 Better Rain (1)
2yo Gelding | T: Tom Smith | J: Les Tilley (59kg)
Joining Better Rain on the 630km trip from Rockhampton to Brisbane is four-year-old gelding I Am Clever.
The son of Sebring joined Smith’s stable at the back end of last year when halfway through a campaign, but he has gone to another level following a three-month spell earlier in the year.
After going down narrowly at Townsville first-up behind subsequent winner Roadhouse, I Am Clever returned to Rockhampton to post a classy victory over 1300m before being beaten by the smallest of margins over 1500m at Rockhampton on July 9.
While barrier 17 presents a few issues on paper for jockey Les Tilley, the gelding tends to race at the back of the field anyway, so Smith is hoping he can get into a rhythm and “be motoring home late”.
“He’s in form and going good,” the trainer said.
“He’s obviously jumping up a fair bit in class and he’s got to carry the 59kg, but he’ll go back in the field and hopefully be motoring home late.
“He’s been a bit of a surprise actually. He was halfway through a prep with the previous connections when he came up to us.
“It was a muddling prep when a couple of things went wrong and a couple of tracks didn’t suit, so we tipped him out and brought him back and I think he’s probably found another gear this prep.
“He’s been on the upward spiral and he’s ended up here.”
Race 2 – #19 I Am Clever (17)
4yo Gelding | T: Tom Smith | J: Les Tilley (59kg)