Smith hopes My Diamantine can defy odds

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September 28, 2017 - 03:06 PM

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My Diamantine might be the outsider in the field for the Metropolitan Handicap but that doesn't faze her veteran trainer Brian Smith.

"I've been all around the world with horses. I just worry about getting my horse fit and producing them," Smith said.

An ex-pat New Zealander who brought champion Balmerino to Australia in the mid 1970s, the 76-year-old Smith has 20 in work at Eagle Farm in Brisbane after many years training at Warwick Farm.

Smith travelled the world with Balmerino who ran second to Alleged in the 1977 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

The trainer also prepared Circles Of Gold to win the 1995 AJC Oaks. Circles Of Gold went on to become an esteemed broodmare producing Elvstroem and Haradasun.

She is the granddam of Highland Reel and Idaho who are both entered for this year's Arc at the weekend.

My Diamantine will not reach those heights, and although she is at $101 for Saturday's Metropolitan (2400m), Smith has been pleased with her campaign which includes seconds in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) and Queensland Cup (3200m).

Smith planned to run My Diamantine in the Newcastle Gold Cup (3200m) on September 15, but revised those plans when she got 54kg.

Instead she returned to Queensland for a tune-up in the Ipswich Stayers' Cup (2150m) last weekend when she filled the minor placing.

"I was really happy with her. She's maintained her form so we'll have a crack," Smith said.

"There's no way of knowing whether she'll measure up but she's a game mare who's fit and tries hard."

With the mare to carry 50kg, her regular jockey Andrew Spinks makes a rare appearance in Sydney.

Spinks has ridden My Diamantine in six of her past 10 starts and has looked after her track work.

"I'm happy I've got someone who's ridden her before and knows her well, not many can ride that weight," Smith said.

My Diamantine is owned by Smith's long-time friend, New Zealand trainer John Wheeler who has enjoyed much success in Australia, notably with the popular Rough Habit who won three successive Doomben Cups, a Stradbroke Handicap and a Queensland Derby.

At the other end of the betting spectrum in the Metropolitan, Libran, one of five runners for Chris Waller, has been joined at the top of the market by stablemate Antonio Giuseppe at $5.50.

Jockey Glyn Schofield was confident Libran could provide his first Metropolitan-winning ride backing up after seven days from victory in the Group Three Kingston Town Stakes (2000m).

"He's getting up to a trip that suits him and if he runs like he did last he'll be competitive again on Saturday," Schofield said.