Sec­ond time suc­cess at Cup

Western Times - - NEWS - Sarah Diony­sius sarah.diony­sius@west­ern­starnews.com

THOU­SANDS flocked to the Birdsville races at the week­end to catch all the ac­tion on the track.

Among them was Roma trainer Craig Smith who made the 11,000km trek to the mid­dle of the out­back with hopes of tak­ing out the cov­eted Birdsville Cup.

Suc­cess was his, when his horse Fast Fella, rid­den by Rock­hamp­ton jockey Adrian Coombe, was the first past the post to take out the win.

This was the sec­ond time Mr Smith has cel­e­brated a win at the iconic races.

“It’s pretty hard to win one and it’s def­i­nitely pleas­ing to win two,” he said.

“This was our 13th or 14th trip now so we are sort of vet­er­ans of the races and it’s been five years since the last win.”

Go­ing in to the race, Mr Smith was con­fi­dent with his choice of the five-year-old geld­ing, owned by Bris­ban­ite Noel Fuller.

“I thought his form was good enough and he had just run sec­ond at St Ge­orge and sec­ond in Roma,” he said.

“He was in the top three or four favourites on the day.”

Mr Smith said the Birdsville races can be tricky to mas­ter.

“They race the op­po­site way and there is only three tracks in Queensland that do that,” he said.

“And then you just have all the haz­ards from rac­ing out in the desert.”

Born and bred in Wal­lum­billa, Mr Smith has been a trainer for 28 years.

“My mum and dad have al­ways been in to race horses and I just fol­lowed on from there,” he said.

“I’ve trained close to a 1000 win­ners over my time and it’s al­ways such a high when I get a win.”

Mr Smith plans to rest Fast Fella and hope­fully race him in the big­gest race in the south-west, the Roma Cup, on Novem­ber 18.

❝ It’s pretty hard to win one and it’s def­i­nitely pleas­ing to win two.

— Craig Smith

PHOTO: SARAH DIONY­SIUS

SEC­OND TIME LUCKY: Roma trainer Craig Smith took out the win at the Birdsville Cup for the sec­ond time in his ca­reer with horse Fast Fella.

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