The very talented Smart Missile did everything wrong during the race but had too much class to overhaul Foxwedge in the last few strides to win today’s Run To The Rose at Rosehill race course with Helmet gallant in third.
Champion jockey Glen Boss declared Smart Missile’s remarkable performance to win Saturday’s Group Three Run To The Rose at Rosehill as the birth of a superstar.
The unbeaten colt, who Boss declared the best three-year-old he’s ridden and one of the best horses he’s thrown a leg over, gave his high-class rivals a big start but produced an outstanding finishing burst to have connections struggling for superlatives.
Making his first race day appearance since he was dramatically scratched at the barriers in the Golden Slipper in April, Smart Missile ($1.70 fav) rounded up San Domenico Stakes winner Foxwedge ($4.60) in the final few bounds to win the 1200m feature by a neck with dual Group One winner Helmet ($6) another length away third in a thrilling contest.
Karuta Queen ($11) set her rivals a chase and finished just over two lengths away in fourth place.
“He’s quite possibly one of the best horses I’ve probably ever thrown a leg over,” Boss, who has ridden many superstars including winning three Melbourne Cups on champion Makybe Diva, said.
“When he got sight of the bunny it was almost arrogant the way he came up to the other horse.
“You’ve got to give him credit, he’s only had three runs.
“Gee he is an exciting horse, I just don’t know what he ran his last split in – it was Usain Bolt.”
There had been plenty of talk about Smart Missile’s return leading up to the Run To The Rose and the colt stood up when it came time to deliver after being about eight lengths off the lead at the top of the straight.
Boss hooked the son of Fastnet Rock to the outside and it wasn’t until inside the final 200 metres that he really started to charge after his rivals to claim his third win from as many starts.
“You’ve seen the birth of a superstar today, he’s something special,” Boss said.
The Anthony Cummings-trained colt’s performance saw his Golden Rose quote on TAB Sportsbet tightened to $2.30 favouritism ahead of Helmet at $5 with Foxwedge and Manawanui at $8.
Cummings had been quoted in the lead-up to the race as saying he would be surprised the day Smart Missile was beaten and admitted at the 200m mark he was “nearly surprised” as he had all but given up hope of victory.
“He’s just an amazing animal,” Cummings said.
John O’Shea, who prepares runner-up Foxwedge, couldn’t fault his charge’s performance and expects the colt to improve again in the Golden Rose (1400m) on September 10.
“We’re very proud of our horse, he has run very well,” O’Shea said.
“The time they have run has given up how well they went.”
The winning time was a class record 1:10.50 for the 1200m on a track rated a dead (5).
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy was also pleased with Helmet’s return.
“He’ll improve with the run,” he said.