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Training newcomer Nick Smart hopes to one day make Melbourne his base.

But for the moment Smart is happy to make the trip from Adelaide when he thinks he has a horse capable of being competitive.

Smart heads to Flemington on Thursday where he has Distillation engaged in the Bagot Handicap (2800m).

The 30-year-old has been training for 18 months but has a lifetime spent around horses with his father Bill, a trainer based in the Adelaide Hills at Oakbank, along with time learning from the best overseas including Andre Fabre and Richard Gibson.

Smart is slowly building a team at Morphettville and Distillation has been a big part in the formation of his stable.

Distillation was placed over 2800m at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day and is a winner of the Group Three Lord Reims Stakes, a lead-up to the Adelaide Cup.

“He’s been a fantastic horse for me getting my career started,” Smart said.

“Originally he was trained at Morphettville by Jon O’Connor but was quite immature mentally and hard to handle.

“Jon suggested he be transferred to my dad and between the two of us he’s won eight races culminating in the Lord Reims.”

Following his Melbourne Cup day placing, Distillation returned for a shot at the 3200m Sandown Cup, won by Renew, but disappointed in finishing 10th of 11 runners.

“It was a mistake really,” Smart said.

“He’s a horse that likes his races spaced and with the great run at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day we got a bit carried away.”

Distillation produced a strong staying performance at Morphettville in winning over 2600m on December 13 after racing deep for the first 1200m.

The gelding will travel from Smart’s Morphettville base to Mark Kavanagh’s Flemington stable on Tuesday night and a have swim on Wednesday will have him at his peak for Thursday’s race.

“It’s good to get him back into a bit of form and he should come on again,” Smart said.

 
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