By Grahame Timbrell
Benjamin Smith, one of the rising stars of the provincial training ranks, is still a little stunned with the way Floki made such a dramatic debut to racing earlier this month.
The Newcastle-based Smith hopes to see a repeat of that effort from Floki in the Vancouver @ Coolmore Class One (1000m) at Muswellbrook on Tuesday. If so, Floki will then be aimed at a provincial and later a city campaign.
The four-year-old stamped himself a star of the future with a runaway maiden win at Scone scoring by almost eight and a half lengths. He went to the line with his ears pricked and under a hold from Josh Adams, who again has the ride.
“I must admit I was blown away by the way he won,” Smith said. “I was confident he could win but I never expected him to do it like that.”
Floki, however, had been a work in progress for Smith who has the talented mare In Her Time, which is being considered as a contender for The Everest, in his growing stable. The son of Hinchinbrook was bred on Yarraman Park and was listed for an Inglis Easter sale but withdrawn after hurting a foot.
His part-owner, Tim Hughes, turned him out on his property for 12 months to give him a good chance to recover. Yarraman Park retained the other half share.
“When he first came into work there was nothing particularly remarkable about him,” Smith said. “I gave him a preparation and turned him out but he was a different horse when he came back in the next time.
“The penny had dropped, he is a lovely horse to handle and he picks up on things very quickly. I think he is a promising horse in the making and eventually I think he will develop into a city class horse. He has definitely improved since that win.”
Floki might not have been going to Muswellbrook except that the scale for this race was dropped 2kg by the handicapper. The horse will carry 60.5kg, a weight which Smith is comfortable with.
“If the scale had not been dropped and he had been asked to carry 62.5kg he would not have been going,” Smith said. “He is a promising young horse and managing his benchmark is going to be one of the challenges I face with him.”
Another horse involved in more drama at the same Scone meeting will have, by necessity, a change of rider in the Godolphin Benchmark 55 (1500m). And the new rider is also Adams.
The Jason Deamer-trained Anticipate fell on the turn in the 1600 metre Class One, leaving jockey Chad Lever with hand and facial injuries and a small bleed on the brain. He was airlifted to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital.
Lever, who had been the rider of Anticipate in three of his only four starts, is back home in Sydney with his hand in a splint and an appointment with a faciomaxillary surgeon. The horse escaped injury but Deamer has decided to fit blinkers for this race.
“The horse does not seem to have taken any harm from the fall,” Deamer said. “He has been eating well and his work has been good. He had been getting too far back in his races and that is why I decided to put blinkers on him.
"Also, you can’t be sure if the horse has suffered any mental issues from the fall until you put him in a race. If he has the blinkers might help.”
SELECTIONS 1-1.20, TAB.COM.AU MAIDEN, 1500m: SILENT JACK 1, Latin Light 2, My Little Soldier 3, Artella 4. 2-1.55, SHALAA @ ARROWFIELD MAIDEN, 1280m: FANNY CHENAL 1, Our Dilemma 2, Bridie’s Brook 3, Quite Unexpected 4. 3-2.35, TWO RIVERS WINES BENCHMARK 60, 2300m: MARMAN 1, Der Meister 2, Bluesbro 3, Tips And Beers 4. 4-3.10, MAGIC MILLIONS 2YOS IN TRAINING SALE CLASS ONE, 1280m: GRUNDALINA, General Harmony, Fiscal Policy 3, Envision 4. 5-3.50, VANCOUVER @ COOLMORE CLASS ONE, 1000m: FLOKI 1, Final Frontier 2, Oakfield Time 3, Not Surprising 4. 6-4.25, HORSEPOWER BENCHMARK 60, 1000m: NICK ON THE RUN 1, Trades Hall 2, Miss Gigi 3, Quick Cash 4. 7-5.05, GODOLPHIN BENCHMARK 55, 1500m: ANTICIPATE 1, High Call 2, Percussion 3, Bold Street Cat 4. Best Bets: Fanny Chenal, Floki, Nick On The Run