HAVING set yet another record – this time at Globe Derby just moments ago – outstanding pacer Smolda will be given several opportunities to register more slices of history when he heads to Victoria.
Fresh from his sensational South Australia Cup success, trainer Mark Purdon has already taken aim at the popular Ballarat Cup in a fortnight.
Triumphant in last season’s edition of the Group One, Smolda is aiming to become the first champion to retain his title since the feature’s inception in 1971.
Former top gelding Sinbad Bay, with victories in 1991 and 1996, is the only dual winner of the Cup.
“He will have a couple of easy days now as we head to Victoria,” Purdon said. “The Ballarat Cup will be his next race, then on to the Hunter Cup.”
As for his latest victory, Smolda avoided early interference from his second row draw before being settled outside the leader, Jilliby Jagger.
With the pair breaking clear of the pack turning for home, Smolda forged his way to the front during the latter stages to score by two-and-a-half metres.
Local hope Whenmechief battled on courageously to be 22 metres away third.
“We were fortunate to miss the interference early on,” Purdon said. “After that he got up to the breeze quite easily and did it pretty well.
“I don’t get to visit Globe Derby very often, but I’ve had a bit of success at this track, including winning this race with Young Rufus in 2005 and Trotters’ Inter Dominion with Pride Of Petite in 1997.”
Covering the last half in 55.4 seconds, the eight-year-old rated 1:56.8 for the 2645-metre trip, slicing a tenth of a second off the track record established by his sire, Courage Under Fire, in the 2001 Cup.
Stretching his record to 31 wins and 20 placings from 63 starts, Smolda’s earnings are sitting on $2,203,838 – just $25,796 short of the Shakamaker’s stance as the richest Australian Pacing Gold graduate.
Along with their APG and multi-millionaire connection, Smolda and Shakamaker are also Inter Dominion winners, while the latter annexed the SA Cup in 2002.
- PAUL COURTS