Almost 40 years after his winning his first Brisbane Cup, trainer Brian Smith is still living the dream.
Smith won the Brisbane Cup in 1976 with champion three-year-old Balmerino and is celebrating again after Jetset Lad scored an upset win in the Group Two race.
Ridden by Paul Hammersley, Jetset Lad ($41) held off spirited challenges from Sense Of Occasion ($5.50) and Epingle ($11) to win by a short half-head in a gripping three-way finish.
The seven-year-old was runner-up in the Eye Liner Stakes and Glasshouse Handicap in 2012 when trained as a sprinter by John Wheeler but has been transformed into a stayer under Smith’s care.
“The say BJ Smith is a staying trainer but I can train anything,” Smith said.
“I’m old now but if you’re patient enough you’ll end up with a good one and you just keep living the dream in this game.”
Smith said the Queensland Derby win of Magicool played a part in the pre-race tactics he devised with Hammersley.
“I said to Paul just stay in rhythm and don’t worry if you’re caught wide because the Derby winner sat three deep and won,” he said.
Hammersley scored his most important win since returning to Queensland after spending more than two years riding in NSW.
“I’ve only been back nine weeks and to win this race is a big thrill,” he said.
It didn’t all go to plan, however, for Hammersley when Jetset Lad played up before the start and was slowly away.
“He was up to his old tricks again of being fidgety in the barriers and came out a length behind the other horses,” he said.
“Even though he was three deep leaving the straight he worked into a good spot down the back straight and I was confident he would outstay them.”
Jockey Tim Clark was pleased with the effort of Sense Of Occasion and rates him a progressive stayer who can measure up in Group races during the spring.