By Julieanne Horsman
The $1,100 David Smith spent on Distinctive Look could be the best investment of his life to date.
The young Mudgee-based trainer snapped the gelding up for a song at a reduction sale and his win in today’s Country Championships Qualifier at Wellington took his earnings to more than 200 times his purchase price.
“We can’t believe it. It’s the first time we’ve entered the Country Championships,” David Smith said.
“The plan was to come here with a happy, healthy and fresh horse. Out the back he was kicking up his heels and I was worried he might be a too fresh but he put his best foot forward today.”
Jumping from barrier 12, Distinctive Look settled midfield, five lengths off the leaders.
“I accepted the fact I was going to be three-deep with cover and I’ve ended up one off, camped in just behind them,” winning jockey Koby Jennings said. “The horses I wanted to be on the back of were nowhere in reach so I just played the cards I was dealt.”
A gap opened up as Distinctive Look rounded the turn and he worked home strongly to claim victory by half a length from favourite, Galaxy Warrior (Allan Chau) who is also trained at Mudgee by Gayna Williams.
Both will represent the Central Districts in the $400,000 Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick on Saturday 1, April.
“I was glad to see the horse where he was,” Smith said. “Koby rode him an absolute treat. They’ve got that really good horse and jockey relationship and we’ll keep him on for the final.”
Distinctive Look won’t have another run before the final, with Smith preferring to keep him fresh.
“He will do some slow work and maybe one or two gallops,” he said. “He needs to be fresh to be competitive over 1400m.”
Smith works as a pre-trainer at Gooree Park in Mudgee alongside his partner Tash Binns and trains in his spare time. He has four horses in work plus another four ready to come into the stable. Tash rides all the track work and straps on race day.
“We’d like expand our client base and it has grown since Distinctive Look won those two Highway Handicaps in Sydney,” Smith said. “This win will be good for us too.”
There are only four spaces left in the Country Championships final with Albury hosting the Southern Districts qualifier next Sunday and the wildcard at Muswellbrook the week after providing heat placegetters one last chance.