Victorian trainer Robert Smerdon believes Shamal Wind deserved a better swang song after the mare finished a lacklustre 13th in the final race of her career at Royal Ascot.
“She was plain, she’s a lot better than that, she wasn’t on her game today,” Smerdon said after Robert Cowell’s Goldream won the 1000m King’s Stand Stakes.
Veteran sprinter Medicean Man, trained by UK-based Australian Jeremy Gask, looked as though he might cause a 50-1 upset as the line approached but Goldream got up to beat him by a short head.
Gask subsequently declared that winning at Ascot would have fulfilled a life ambition “but we have to be pleased with that (second)”.
Muthmir was just a neck away in third on Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday morning AEST).
Shamal Wind, the third favourite, lost her footing and slipped behind out of the gates and never regained the ground.
“Just a flat-type run really,” Caulfield-based Smerdon told reporters.
“After the start she was always chasing but she never came up and travelled for (jockey Ryan Moore).
“She seemed okay in her outward behaviour but she didn’t put it on the track.”
The King’s Stand was the final race of the five-year-old mare’s career.
She’ll now go to Ireland to be served by Sea the Stars to southern hemisphere time before returning to Australia.
Smerdon speculated the long journey to the UK could have been a factor on Tuesday.
“It’s a lot of travelling and while they appear normal outwardly you’re never quite sure of the impact of it,” the Victorian said.
“One of the most difficult things to do with a horse is take them into another hemisphere and ask them to produce their best form.
“Clearly that didn’t happen for her today.”
The trainer noted a lot of very good stayers had travelled to Australia and not produced their A game either.
Those that stayed for 12 months to acclimatise often did much better then, he added.
Smerdon believes this month’s experience could help if he ever returns to Ascot.
“It exposes you to the process and then if the opportunity comes again, obviously having had that experience you’d possibly execute it better.”
Popular Irish sprinter Sole Power was the 5-2 favourite to become the first horse to win the King’s Stand three times but, having been held up, his trademark late burst was not as potent as it has been in the past and he passed the post in fifth.