By Ray Hickson
Like a number of trainers, Matt Smith wonders how his Group winning mare Faraway Town will fare in the heavy conditions at Randwick on Saturday.
If the four-year-old races up to her work and recent trial win on wet ground she’s likely the forgotten horse of the Elite Haulage Handicap (1200m).
“She’s definitely a really good chance in the race if she handles the track,’’ Smith said.
“I’m sure on a soft track no problem at all, but I don’t know about a heavy. Jason Collett said she felt super in the ground in the trial, couldn’t fault her.
“I suppose it’s a bit different when you let their head go in a race. The market reflects the horses they know will handle it.’’
Faraway Town, who won a heavy track at her second race start, is on the fourth line of betting with TAB at $6.00 on Friday with noted mudlark and recent June Stakes winner Jungle Edge the $3.10 favourite.
She won successive Randwick 1200m races in the summer including the Group 3 Triscay Stakes and was freshened up after finishing down the track in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes on April 14.
She was given a solid hitout in winning a 1200m trial on June 12 beating Daysee Doom.
Faraway Town's easy trial win at Randwick on June 12
“In my mind if she handles the conditions and can travel she will ping,’’ Smith said.
“Jungle Edge will be out in front rolling along, it’ll be a matter of whether we can get over the top.
“We’ve had a really good prep, everything has gone smooth through it and I’ve been really happy with her. It’s just can she let down on a heavy track like she can on a dry?’’
Smith was hoping to secure a start in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara in Brisbane but missed out by two spots so her Randwick appearance will probably be a winter cameo.
He said rather than chase races like the Ramornie Handicap next month she’ll be saved for the string of stakes races for mares in the spring.
There are no doubts about stayer Plymouth Road’s ability to handle a wet track and Smith believes he’s close to a win in the Evergreen Turf Handicap (2400m) in the right circumstances.
The gelding ($4.40) was narrowly beaten by Follow Suit, who opposes him again on Saturday, at Warwick Farm on May 30.
“He’s nice and fit, his last couple of runs have been good and we have him where we want him,’’ he said.
“His weakness is he’s a difficult horse to ride. If he was to get an easy lead I reckon he’ll win.
“He’ll run the 2400m, will handle the ground and he’s never been better since I’ve had him.’’
As for Rebel Miss, who was placed at the Sunshine Coast over 1000m three weeks ago, the trainer feels she’s one of the chances as usual in the Turf Drain Australia Sprint (1000m).
“It’s a competitive race but I think she’s in it. I can’t fault her, she’s going super,’’ he said.
“Whether she is good enough is the question but on her best form she is competitive.’’