Trainer David Vandyke may have had to play second and third fiddle in the fifth race at Doomben, but the stable was not to be denied in the sixth race when the very well supported Weona Smartone (a hot, hot $1.80 favourite with Sportsbet) proved too strong for his opposition under a very competent ride by Mark Du Plessis.
Du Plessis rode Weona Smartone as if he was the best horse in the race … which he proved to be … wasting no time in taking the son of Shamexpress to an immediate lead which he never looked like relinquishing … the 2.30 length margin of victory in an end-to-end romp saying it all.
Weona Smartone rubber-stamped his well above average potential here as this was his third career victory from only four starts.
The stable thought enough of him to bring him straight to town for his debut run back in December. He did finish unplaced that day, but that was the last time he tasted defeat having now won all three subsequent starts.
“I saw Mark digging him out of the gates and I just closed my eyes,” said Vandyke. “He is fast, but we have tried to contain that but, when he was actually asking early … and he went … all I could think of was the last 100m.
“To his credit he is obviously a quality horse and he stuck on good enough. I’m interested to see what sectionals he ran. They would have been getting along.
“Having said that, the plan was not to hold him up. It was to let him roll. He has got a high cruising speed. If you fired him up, he would get the head up, the mouth open and it would get ugly.
‘He cornered well. He kicked and held his advantage.
“it is a hard job to keep the weight on him. He doesn’t hold condition, so you won’t see him for a few weeks.”
‘Firstly, it is very respectful getting rides from David in the first place whether they win or lose,” said Du Plessis, ‘and I’ve been quite lucky to have had a bit of success for him of late.
“Obviously, I was filling in for Ryan (Maloney) today, but, hopefully, if I can keep doing the job right, I can get more rides. That is the aim.
‘The way he races, being a bit aggressive in nature and probably being a little bit fresh, he got there a bit quicker than I expected. He overdid it a little bit, but he did come back to me and relaxed very well.
“I never touched him with the whip, so I think he will improve from today and I’d be surprised if he didn’t get to Open class.”