Smart Missile takes aim at the new season
A stream of late-season results highlights the firepower Smart Missile has assembled to continue his excellent progress into 2017/18.
The brilliant son of Fastnet Rock has ended the 2016/17 season with a series of eye-catching performances by 3YOs Damaging, Special Missile, Launch Code and Brahmos, and 2YO Smart Coupe in Australia and 3YO Encore Boy in Hong Kong.
Sixty-six winners have sealed Smart Missile’s status as Australia’s leading Second Season Sire by that measure. Exciting Group 3-winning juveniles Debellatio and I’ll Have A Bit, and stakes-winning 3YO Exocet are the main contributers to his $3.1 million prizemoney which has secured third position on the earnings Premiership, behind Foxwedge and So You Think.
Another notable feature of Smart Missile’s season is that his 57 second-crop winners place him fourth among all Australian 3YO sires, with plenty of heavy hitters behind him.
His newest 3YO winner is the Gerald Ryan-trained Damaging (ex Sequinella by Catbird), who broke through at his fourth start for a comfortable, ears-pricked maiden win at Newcastle on Thursday.
Stable representative Blake Ryan says, “He was a big, backward type early on, but now he’s a strong, straightforward horse that’s a pleasure to do anything with.
“This prep we’ll probably just try and pick off his grades for prizemoney for the owners, and then see where he sits next time around, but he is improving all the time.”
After two unplaced runs in his first campaign during the summer, Damaging has clearly benefited from development time. He returned to finish third at Hawkesbury eleven days before his Newcastle victory, which completed a sequence of three wins in three days for Smart Missile.
Smart Missile’s latest Sydney metro winner of the season is Special Missile (ex Quiet Meadow by El Prado), who took his record to three wins from 3 starts with a stylish effort, carrying second topweight of 60.5 kg, over 1550 metres at Canterbury on Wednesday.
Special Missile’s trainer John Thompson says, “He’s going well, he’s come through the race well and he’ll line up again at Rosehill in two weeks’ time. We’ll take him through the grades and if he measures up in town, we’ll look at stakes options for him.”
John’s 2017 yearling purchases include a Smart Missile filly out of Danahere (by Dehere) bought for $70,000 in partnership with Proven Thoroughbreds. He says, “We like a bit of scope in our horses and she’s a nice, well put-together filly.”
Gooree Stud’s Launch Code (ex Dearness by Snippets) was even more impressive on Tuesday at Wyong where he took charge of the 1000-metre Class 2 event round the home turn and raced away to score by 3.2 lengths in 56.96, cutting out the last 600 metres in 32.96.
Transferred to Kris Lees after winning at Warwick Farm on 31 May for James Cummings (now with Godolphin), Launch Code obviously impressed jockey Glyn Schofield who said after Tuesday’s win, “There was plenty in the tank and it was simply lovely.”
At Sandown on 19 July Brahmos (ex Jannah by Carnegie) produced a debut victory to match his good looks when he rocketed home over 1300 metres for a group of owners that paid $420,000 for him at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale.
Brahmos’ trainer John Sadler said, “I was very impressed with the way he handled himself. He always looked like he was going to be a winning chance.”
Melbourne filly Smart Coupe (ex Coupe by Spinning World) confirmed the promise of her 2.75 length debut win at Wangaratta with a slick win at Sandown on 5 July. Prepared by Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra for a First Light Racing syndicate, she will be set for the VRC Red Roses S. G3 down the Flemington straight on Oaks Day in November.
First Light’s Tim Wilson says, “She’s a lightly framed filly who surprised us a bit, she really furnished in the last six weeks of her campaign. She can sprint off a hot speed, her times stack up and her wins have been franked by the form out of Wangaratta and Sandown.
“She’s now in the fourth week of a six-week break, so will start at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate eve and then head to Flemington 13 days later.”
First Light, whose owners have celebrated 34 wins in 2016/17, also has a rising 3YO son of Smart Missile in the Ellerton/Zahra stable, Fallen Empire (ex Annlea by Canny Lad).
Tim Wilson says, “He’s a lovely horse with the best temperament, the most relaxed horse in the stable. He’s an Autumn three-year-old type, and is about two weeks away from a jumpout.”
Arrowfield graduate Encore Boy (ex Miss Bellezza by Flying Spur) capped his first season in Hong Kong with success at his fifth start, over 1000 metres at Sha Tin on 9 July.
Trainer Ricky Yiu, who bought Encore Boy for $210,000 from the 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, said, “I think he’s still not ready to go around the turn but after giving him a couple of runs down the straight next season, I think naturally he’ll be ready for it. He’s very honest and he deserved that win.”
Smart Missile has also been represented in Hong Kong by 2018 Derby prospect Rocketeer (ex Some Girls Do by More Than Ready), successful over 2000 metres in June for the John Moore stable, and Sam’s Love (ex Dashie Diva by Dash for Cash), whose three starts this season included a win and a second.
To this abundant talent, and the leading stables managing it, Smart Missile can add another significant advantage: numbers. With more than 450 foals in his first three crops, now rising four, three and two, he is perfectly primed to add major prizes to his stud record in 2017/18.