By Mark Brassel
Queanbeyan trainer Mick Smith will be doing his best impression of a rain dance prior to next Sunday’s Merimbula Cup (1600m) at Sapphire Coast: “The wetter the better,” Smith declared.
The trainer has earmarked the Cup for his talented galloper Dure who will be having only his second run in eight months.
Left: Dure (Kathy O'Hara) with trainer Mick Smith at Warwick Farm. Image by - Bradley Photographers
“He’s a horse that tries his heart out every time he goes around. He loves a wet surface but in saying that, if it happens to be dry he’ll still be putting in 110%.
“So few horses have the attitude this bloke has; he really wants to be a racehorse and loves getting out and running. Loves his feed too – he put on around 50 kilos when he was out in the paddock!”
Dure won impressively at Canberra (2000m) on a heavy track last August then finished last (of six) at Royal Randwick (2000m) the following month.
“He normally gets back in his races but because it was a small field we decided to have him handy to the lead,” Smith explained. “As it turned out that was his undoing as he was galloped on and pulled up lame.
“He also had a cracked hoof laterally so it needed time to regrow which is why he didn’t race for eight months.”
Dure showed he back on track when resuming by coming from last (11th) on the turn to finish third (beaten a head and a half neck) at Queanbeyan over 1460m under a crushing 62.5kg.
“We were so proud of him first-up, it really was a fantastic effort after such a long layoff. He needed the run and has pulled up great. His work since has been excellent and we’re expecting him to be right in the finish of the Merimbula Cup.”
Smith has booked apprentice Chelsea MacFarlane for the ride and she will claim 1.5kg.
Next Sunday’s Sapphire Coast meeting is one of the club’s biggest with a host of entertainment including the Canberra Swing Katz dance group and Lindy Hop Dance Troupe as part of the Merimbula Jazz Festival.
“We also have a Bega Classic Cars display, a free jumping castle for the kids and free buses to and from the track,” said Sapphire Coast Turf Club’s GM, Rob Tweedie. “And the Fashions on the Field has a 1920s to 1950s theme.”
The day starts off at Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones’s new racing stables on the course. The training partnership will take a tour through the stabling complex, walking machine and round yard before celebrating with champagne and nibbles.
“Anyone coming along can find out about costs involved in racing a horse and during the meeting we will parade two yearlings,” Barbara Joseph said.