By Matt Malone, The Daily Advertiser
UP-AND-COMING Wagga trainer Todd Smart will chase the biggest win of his short career when he saddles up Art Thou Ready in the $20,000 Stan Sadleir Stakes (1200m) at Murrumbidgee Turf Club on Thursday.
Smart relocated to Wagga and took out his trainer’s licence in May and has showed plenty of patience with his small team to date.
Smart has had 11 runners for one winner and four placings but is confident there will be more in store, particularly with his latest stable addition Art Thou Ready.
The six-year-old has spent most of his racing days with John O’Shea but turned out an eye-catching first-up performance for Smart in last week’s feature sprint on Snake Gully Cup day at Gundagai.
Smart has chosen to back up Art Thou Ready at Wagga on Thursday and the decision is not one he has taken lightly.
“He went well but the 1000 metres was obviously too short for him,” Smart said.
“He’s never won first up but I think we’ve got him back on track.
“He’s thrived since the run.”
Smart is not usually a believer in backing horses up, but a run at Wagga today puts him on a fortnightly path to the Ted Ryder Cup.
“It’s six days into this run and he’s been bouncing around,” Smart said.
“John Kissick and Brad Clark share riding work on him and they couldn’t be happier, he’s come through that race with flying colours.
“I hate backing up horses but this brings him in line with the Ted Ryder Prelude and then the Ted Ryder Cup.
“I wouldn’t back him up if he wasn’t 100 per cent right.”
John Kissick was on board at Art Thou Ready’s last-start fourth placing behind Rose Of Falvelon and retains the ride.
Art Thou Ready has won once before over 1200m, but is yet to strike a blow second-up.
“I think he’s a big chance,” Smart said.
“There is still improvement in him and obviously 1400 metres is his pet distance but I really think he can feature in the finish.”
A Stan Sadleir Stakes victory would be a huge boost to Smart’s fledging career.
“It would be,” he said.
“It’s one of those things where you’ve got to try and get winners, because owners come with that.
“I would love to win this race.”