Details are King
Smith leaving no stone unturned with Leon
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