By Ray Hickson
Trainer Matt Smith is confident he has a handy stayer on his hands in the shape of import Attorney but heads to Canterbury on Wednesday with some reservations.
It’s nothing to do with the four-year-old’s work, distance progression or form – he’s coming off a first-up win with 61.5kg at Newcastle over a mile – it’s whether the tight Canterbury circuit will bring him undone.
“Canterbury is one of those tracks where you need a bit of luck in the run,’’ Smith said.
“My expectation is he will run well, if he gets the right breaks he won’t be far away. It’s just a matter of whether he adapts to going around there because he wouldn’t have seen a track like that.’’
Attorney, who races in the OTI colours, came to Smith with four starts under his belt and a win at 2400m in France.
Prior to his Australian debut at Newcastle the trainer was a little cautious about his chances but the gelding sustained a long run and proved a bit too good for Class 1 company, running 35.54 for his last 600m (Punter's Intelligence).
“You have to be a little reserved with imports in their first preparation,’’ he said.
“In fairness to the horse he had trialled well leading into Newcastle so he was going to run well it was just a matter of if the distance was okay for him.
“He’d come out of a couple of good form races, horses he’d raced had gone on to better company, and that was the reason we identified him.
“He was doing well and doing plenty wrong as well. He was very colty and needed gelding, that was the first thing we did with him.’’
Smith is again a little reserved about Attorney keeping his unbeaten local record intact in the Frosted @ Darley Handicap (1900m) where he’s $5 with TAB but said his chances will increase if it’s a truly run race.
“He doesn’t know much about the game yet, the early preps for these imported horses are about getting them used to how we race here and used to the tracks,’’ he said.
“As he gets further out in distance he will get better but he still has to navigate his way around Canterbury.
Attorney wins first-up at Newcastle on June 8
“You have to go into it as another stepping stone, he’s going to develop into a nice horse but at this stage he’s still learning what it’s about.’’
Smith said any improvement in the Canterbury surface will assist Koonunga in finding her best form in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1100m).
The mare had no luck at Randwick two starts ago then found 1200m on a heavy track a bit too much there on June 8.
“She’s probably not at her best on wet tracks but there’s not much we can do about that at the moment,’’ Smith said.
“We had the option to wait until Saturday but she’s better running at Canterbury than if we get rain at Randwick. She has good form at Canterbury and she’s in with a shot if we get the luck in running.’’