The Flemington Finals raceday in July may belong to trainer Lindsey Smith if Saturday’s nine-race card at the venue is a sign of things to come.
Smith wasn’t trackside to watch his two winners, Great Again recapturing his best form to win the $112,000 Listed Hilton Nicholas Straight Six (1200m) while last year’s Winter Championship Final (1600m) winner Reykjavik succeeded in the second heat of this year’s series.
Great Again ($12) failed at his Victorian debut on Ballarat Cup day last November and was scratched from the Listed Wangoom Handicap (1200m) at Warrnambool due to the Soft (7) surface being insufficiently damp.
The son of Viscount relished the Heavy (8) conditions down the Flemington straight to hold off fellow resuming seven-year-old gelding Rich Charm ($31) by a short head.
“It was a really tough effort,” said Great Again’s winning rider Declan Bates.
“He has got that high cruising speed and I just let him roll along and use it.
“I thought I was a bit vulnerable late but when they came to his neck he found again so it was a tough effort.”
The Straight Six was the second of six heats ahead of the $128,000 Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at Flemington on July 4, the same day Reykjavik is likely to defend his crown in the Winter Championship also worth $128,000 at Listed level.
Reykjavik ($11) settled midfield and benefited from the strong mid-race tempo before hooking widest of all in the straight and overrunning Shot Of Irish ($2.80 favourite) who gamely attempted to lead throughout in the $100,000 Apache Cat Handicap (1600m).
Apprentice Lewis German rode his twelfth Melbourne winner aboard Reykjavik and noted that ‘everything worked out’ in the run.
“The horse was able to switch off… he was too strong,” German said.
“It was probably a really good first up run in the Wangoom last start and Lindsey was obviously confident going to the mile.”