By Gary Harley
Newcastle’s Group 1-winning trainer Ben Smith is quietly confident of success at Tuesday’s Newcastle race meeting with a filly he bred and trains. Andiamo Fica ($10 on TAB fixed odds), a three-year-old makes her debut in the 900 metre three-year-old maiden, where she will be ridden by Christian Reith.
The filly has had only one trial at Gosford in February where she was only a length and a half behind Saturday’s Group 2 Furious Stakes winner, Pure Elation. After a slow start, Andiamo Fica settled third on the rail before coming off the leader’s heels to dash clear at the top of the straight. Pure Elation ran her down late.
Smith set his filly for the two-year-old Inglis Challenge during the Scone Cup Carnival in May, however, she went shin-sore and headed to the spelling paddock. Smith said on Sunday that he is expecting a bold showing from the filly in a strong race.
“I am confident about this filly’s prospects in what appears a strong race. She was ready to go early in the year and I worked to have her spot-on for the Inglis Challenge at the Scone Cup Carnival but she went shin sore.
"Andiamo Fica’s only trial behind Pure Elation six months ago was impressive. This race is over the short course, but she has genuine speed. Her dam is a New Zealand-bred mare that I won a race with at Newcastle in my early years as a trainer.
"I bred Andiamo Fica after the mare's first foal died. We have a yearling by Denman and she has a young foal at foot as well," Smith said.
The trainer, riding the crest of the wave, can also kick punters off on the right note when he saddles up the promising stayer Iron Duke ($1.65 favourite) in the opening event a 2360 metre Class 1 and Maiden Plate.
The Queensland bred four-year-old had his first staying test on this track on August 25. It was only Iron Duke's fourth race start and he stepped up to 1885 metres and demolished a maiden field by more than four lengths.
“I would have preferred to go to 2000 or 2100 metres rather than the big jump to 2360, however, we would have had to go to Gosford or Wyong which isn’t ideal because the tighter tracks don’t suit him. I am confident that he will run the trip. He led the other day and he may do so again on Tuesday. He is lightly raced and is a promising stayer.”
Kerrin McEvoy, fresh from a great weekend riding the winners of the three feature races at Friday’s Wyong Cup meeting and piloting Redzel to victory in Saturday’s Concorde Stakes, will ride at Newcastle on Tuesday.
McEvoy has three rides for Peter and Paul Snowden and two for Chris Waller. His best ride appears to be the Waller-trained Given Time ($2.10 fav) in the 1600 metre maiden handicap. Back in March he was beaten a length by Group placegetter Bondi in a Newcastle Maiden.
Second-up again in Newcastle on August 16 his fast-finishing second was an eye-catcher. He was blocked for a run at the 300 metre mark but then stormed home to go down by only a length.
McEvoy also rides the Waller-trained Coltrane in the 1300 metre Maiden Plate. The gelding was unlucky when a fast-finishing second at Kembla last start. McEvoy will ride Starry, Recording to Win and Delfuego for the Snowden Stable and all three will be well fancied.