De­tails are King

Smith leav­ing no stone un­turned with Leon

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - By RAY HICKSON

TRAINER Matthew Smith has been un­der­tak­ing a thor­ough as­sess­ment of the lim­its of emerg­ing sprinter Kings Of Leon over the last cou­ple months.

It’s been de­scribed as a ‘fact find­ing’ four start prepa­ra­tion aimed at giv­ing Smith an idea of what strengths and weak­nesses ex­ist in a horse he clearly has some time for.

Kings Of Leon chases hat­trick in the Sch­weppes Hand­i­cap (1200m) at Rand­wick to­mor­row.

“This prepa­ra­tion has been about as­sess­ing where he’s at and sea­son­ing him a bit,” Smith said.

“I don’t think an ex­tra race will hurt him and it will give us an idea of what he can cope with.

“It’ll help plan the prepa­ra­tion next time in based on what he can han­dle.”

One of the pleas­ing as­pects of this cam­paign is fo u r- y e a r- o l d has backed up within two weeks af­ter each start and come through with fly­ing colours.

He ticked the 1200m box, nar­rowly, a fort­night ago and Smith said an­other win would bring stakes races into play for when he re­turns later in the sea­son.

“You raise bar a lit­tle bit, I haven’t sat down and mapped any­thing out yet, go to a bet­ter class of race,” he said.

“We’ll have to tackle some kind of stakes race.

“Look­ing at the run at War­wick Farm (sec­ond-up), races that are run gen­uinely seem to suit him.

“He rel­ishes sit­ting back and mind­ing his own busi­ness. You can see he has a bit of class the way fin­ishes his race off.”

De­spite re­cent fin­ish­ing bursts from off the speed Smith was con­sid­er­ing hav­ing Kings Of Leon rid­den closer to the pace than was at both War­wick Farm and Rand­wick.

Bar­rier 12 has made that plan a bit trick­ier but he said he’ll see how things play out on the day be­fore talk­ing tac- tics with jockey Tye Ang­land.

“I’d be think­ing about rid­ing con­ser­va­tively from the bar­rier but I wouldn’t be afraid to push for­ward with him,” he said.

Abit of give in the track won’t harm Kings Of Leon’s hopes and Smith said it is cru­cial to the chances of both Zayam Zin Zan Ed­die in the Jockey Cel­e­bra­tion Day Hand­i­cap (1600m).

Zayam chased home the smart Sound Propo­si­tion on a heavy track over the Rand­wick mile in June then failed to beat a run­ner home on good ground at War­wick Farm.

“He just never took part, he felt the ground and the time be­tween runs will be good for him,” he said.

“He might have run one bad race at Rand­wick, where the pace didn’t suit him, so I would ex­pect him to bounce back.”

Zayam worked over a mile last Satur­day at War­wick Farm in 1:44.81 and cruised home 25.38 for the last 400m.

It was work that sug­gested to Smith he’s ready to win.

“It’s as good as he’s worked since I’ve had the horse,” he said.

“He’ll ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing fresh and from what I saw last Satur­day he’s ab­so­lutely spot on.”

Zin Zan Ed­die hasn’t won a race since Jan­uary 2016 and Smith con­cedes the eightyear-old needs ev­ery­thing tai­lor made for him to per­form these days.

He hasn’t raced for over a month since run­ning 10th in the Civic Stakes and will also ap­pre­ci­ate softer go­ing.

“Now he’s up to this level he needs heavy tracks, he doesn’t get any ad­van­tage when he doesn’t strike the right track,” Smith said.

“He needs a wet track, a good bar­rier and to get soft run.

“He’s work­ing as well now as what he was 12 months ago and if gets the right ground he’ll bounce back but on top of the ground other horses have a bet­ter turn of foot.”

Look­ing at the run at War­wick Farm (sec­ondup), races that are run gen­uinely seem to suit him. – Matthew Smith

Kings Of Leon face a test to com­plete a hat-trick at Rand­wick to­mor­row

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