UPDATE: Newcastle trainer Ben Smith was extremely disappointed to scratch star mare In Her Time from the group 1 Darley Classic at Flemington on Saturday morning.
In Her Time had been reshod and later had hoof filler applied following damage sustained in the Manikato Stakes two weeks earlier.
“Extremely disappointing not be racing today, it was a hard decision to make, but as In Her Time wasn’t quite one hundred percent the welfare of the horse is our priority,” Smith posted.
“She will have a little spell now and return bigger and stronger in the autumn.”
FRIDAY: IN Her Time trainer Ben Smith has a score to settle at group 1 level with his star.
And a win over Everest champion Redzel in the $1 million Darley Classic (1200 metres) at Flemington on Saturday shapes as the perfect way for his mare to breakthrough at the elite level after three placings.
The Newcastle-trained three-time group 2 victor missed out on a spot in the inaugural $10 million Everest on October 14 but won the $500,000 consolation, running a faster time than Redzel’s triumph.
The Darley Classic, featuring five runners from The Everest, is another chance for In Her Time to show she belongs among the best sprinters in Australia. And Smith believed the field was “probably stronger” than the one for The Everest.
“The other was a deal-based race and this is a form-based race,” Smith said.
“We missed out on The Everest, and so did Terravista, and Malaguerra has been racing well down here. There’s been a few who probably could have held their spot over one or two others who were in The Everest.
“It’s a really nice race and probably as strong a sprint race as you’re going to get.”
In Her Time has beaten Everest and Darley Classic runners Clearly Innocent, Chautauqua and Vega Magic this preparation and Smith had favourite Redzel in his sights.
“Redzel had us in the Doomben 10,000 but that was partly my fault,” he said.
“It was her first time travelling and I didn’t know how much weight she would lose in the trip, then it rained all Saturday morning, which didn’t suit us so we are really looking forward to this.”
In Her Time followed up her Everest day win with a narrow second to Hey Doc in the group 1 Manikato at Moonee Valley two weeks ago. The five-year-old threw a shoe and had another shifted when bumped in the run. Smith had her reshod the following day but said this week that “we’ve had to do a bit more patch work but it’s good now. She’s quite happy.”
“The bar plates come off again. We had to put some synthetic hoof filler on it, just to give a bit of support where it broke away a bit, but she’s quite comfortable with that.”
Like In Her Time, Kris Lees’ Clearly Innocent, eighth in The Everest, will race in the Darley Classic without a test on the straight 1200m course at Flemington. The Newcastle trainer, though, believed his gelding would appreciate the change in his first run since the Everest.
“He’s not a turning-track kind of horse, so I think this will suit him,” Lees said. “He didn’t probably run up to our expectations [in the Everest] but there’s similar form lines going into the lead-up run so there’s no reason why he can’t bounce back.”
Lees also has Sense Of Occasion in the $2 million Emirates Stakes (2000m). The seven-year-old was ninth but finishing strongly in the Kennedy Mile last Saturday.
“He was good late, which you wanted to see going to a 2000-metre race,” he said. “I would have loved to get a bit of soft ground, but he’s not going to get it. But he’s in good order and I think he will run well.”
Tosen Stardom, for Hunter syndicators Australian Bloodstock, will also run in the Emirates Stakes.
Lees has a strong team at Rosehill and said Karavali was “the pick of them” and Just Dreaming “will be hard to beat”.
At Flemington, Corey Brown will ride In Her Time and Sense Of Occasion, while Blake Shinn will have his first time aboard Clearly Innocent in the Darley Classic.
Meanwhile, Smith said he had done no major trackwork with In Her Time in between runs because of her unusually busy program.
“This will be her fourth run in eight weeks and she’s never had to do that,” he said
“She’s always gone a month, maybe into a fortnight, into a month again, she’s never been two weeks, two week, two weeks.
“We’re just mindful that she’s never done that before and she is quite fit and clean-winded, so we haven’t done too much with her.”