IT’S fair to say it hasn’t helped him much in the past. But Queanbeyan trainer Mick Smith is hoping home track advantage will help him claim a long elusive Queanbeyan Cup this Sunday.
Smith will have two runners in this weekend’s Cup, wet tracker Street Spirit and fancied five-year-old Dubai Ruler.
It’s a race his Two Stubbies stable has long targeted. Smith has fielded runners in eight of the past 10 editions of the Cup.
His first Cup runner was Street Spirit’s mother Revive a decade ago.
Since then, he’s thrown everything bar the kitchen sink at the race with little to show for his efforts.
“If we could finally win it there will certainly be great celebrations,” he said with a laugh. “The Cup’s been a long term ambition of ours and so far we haven’t had any success so it’s definitely one we’d love to win.
“Winning your hometown Cup is something that every trainer wants to do. I’ve had some good horses in it over the years and thought I had some good chances for not much result.
“I think the horse deserves it to. She’s a really nice horse and this will be her last attempt at it before she’s put out to stud so this is her big chance.”
Fellow Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary will also be in the hunt in the $40,000 race with six-year-old High Density to jump from barrier two.
Cleary’s father, Frank, won the Cup with Bomber Command in 2009 before Mike Petrovik made it a local double in 2010 with Carski Drum.
Since then, Canberra and inter-state runners have successfully raided Queanbeyan’s most prized piece of racing silverware.
Smith however, said he was hopeful the unusual nature of the Queanbeyan course would see home track advantage come into play on Sunday.
“The good thing about Queanbeyan is that it’s a bit of a tricky track and often horses trained here do have a bit of an advantage,” he said. “Especially in a 2000m race, the last 300m is hard work.”
“Horses come around the final corner coming down the hill thinking they’re going alright but it’s all uphill from the 300m mark to the post and you really see them start to shorten up on the run home.”