The pub at Bungendore will be a mess tonight.
That's according to Canberra trainer Garry Kirkup after winning his first $75,000 Highway Handicap (1600m) with Smart As delivering a stunning victory at Randwick on Saturday.
Linda Meech rides Garry Kirkup’s Smart As to victory at Randwick on Saturday. Credit:AAP
Kirkup said everyone at The Lake George Hotel in Bungendore was on the mare and patrons roared as Smart As ($16) drew away from race leader Saarim ($11) to win by a length in Sydney.
The connections paid just $20,000 for the five-year-old and after just four starts in Kirkup's stable, she has already doubled their money.
"It feels really good to get a Sydney winner, there's a heap of owners here and they’re rapt," Kirkup said.
"Then there's a few more at The Lake George at Bungendore, the pub will be a mess tonight because I think the whole pub got on.
"I was feeling pretty good all week, I thought dropping back to class three she'd be a good show and I was dying to get her over a mile.
"We always thought she needed further than 1400m, she'd been placed in a 1550m in Canberra a couple of times, so we knew she should get the mile.
"She's a real one-pacer who has to be ridden right on the front all the way and Linda [Meech] rode her perfectly. It was a good, strong win."
It marked Kirkup's first city win since a car crash killed his partner and track work rider Samara Johnson and left him temporarily in a wheelchair 13 months ago.
Kirkup said the Country Championship in April was among the aims for Smart As who was formerly trained in Sydney by Tim Martin and then Joe Pride.
"There's also a race on Australia Day at Randwick over 1600m, so hopefully we can come back in two weeks and do it all over again," Kirkup said.
"We were able to buy her as a tried racehorse for about $20,000. She is very well-bred and is worth that and more as a broodmare.
"She's a lovely mare but she's pretty fiery. We were told she was a bit of a fireball and takes a little bit of tender care but hopefully she's got a few more wins in her."
Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary had his stable star Girls Are Ready in the Magic Millions Two-year-old Classic (1200 metres) at the Gold Coast on Saturday, but she finished 12th.
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