Smart Call entered for Hong Kong
TUCKED away among the long list of entries for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, is a six-year-old mare from South Africa named Smart Call, pictured, owned by Jessica Slack-jell of Mauritzfontein Stud and trained by Alec Laird, best known in Hong Kong for his stunning victory in the 1997 QEII Cup with London News.
After picking up a minor injury during her initial overseas foray to England under Laird’s care, Smart Call was transferred temporarily to Sir Michael Stoute earlier this year for an extended overseas campaign.
The rest of her biography reads 16 starts in South Africa for seven wins and six placings, including two Gr1 victories, five starts in Europe, including a fourth in the Gr1 Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville, and the possession of a superb temperament and a rather long pair of ears.
Ears, you may ask? Well, ears in mares are rather important.
After all, both Treve and Enable sport a pair of long ones, prompting John Gosden to comment after Enable’s magnificent victory in the Prix de l’arc de Triomphe that he is rather partial to mares with long ears!
Another who likes mares with long ears is Slack-jell, Smart Call’s owner.
She owns a whole stud full of mares, as well as a number of decent runners, but Slack-jell’s all-time favourite is the big bay mare with long floppy ears.
For not only is Smart Call a homebred, but she is also by Mauritzfontein’s resident stallion, Ideal World and when cantering home lonely in the Gr1 Woolavington 2 000, she became her sire’s first Gr1 winner.
On her dam side, Smart Call has even more history. Her mother Good Judgement is a daughter of the best racehorse ever bred at Mauritzfontein, the incredible Horse Chestnut.every girl must have a dream and Slack-jell’s was to have a runner at the Breeders’ Cup.
Sadly, although Smart Call’s Gr1 Paddock Stakes victory granted her automatic entry to North America’s international shindig, the mighty mare pulled a muscle on Newmarket Heath with a month to go and the dream was over.
Not deterred, though, Slack-jell decided to soldier on with an overseas programme and Smart Call joined Stoute’s Newmarket string for the full 2017 European season.
The big mare may not have cared much for the undulating English tracks or the mud of the Curragh, but she always tries her heart out.
Her fourth at Deauville was within a head of the second-placed horse and that despite receiving a hefty bump as she started her run.
Hence, Sha Tin will suit her down to the ground literally.
A flat grass track with no mud?
For Smart Call and Slack-jell, it doesn’t get any better than that.
So if you see Smart Call step out onto the emerald Sha Tin turf, whether it be in the LONGINES Hong Kong Cup over 2 000m or the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase over 2 400m, don’t look for the ‘Look of Eagles’, just watch her ears – they will tell you the whole story and then some. – Hong Kong Jockey Club.