Japanese import Brave Smash claimed a maiden Group 1 win in Saturday’s Futurity Stakes (1400m) as master trainer Darren Weir dominated the $500,000 feature with first, second and fourth over the line.
Weir’s jubilation at back-to-back wins in the race was mixed with a sense of relief that the Australian Bloodstock-owned entire, third in last year’s The Everest (1200m) and an unlucky first-up third in the C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m), had all but secured a future at stud with the victory.
The Ballarat horseman prepared Futurity runner-up Tosen Stardom to win two Group 1 races during the spring, after which his services were secured by Victoria’s Woodside Park Stud, and Weir is optimistic Brave Smash can join him in the breeding barn one day.
“It’s important that we get results with them because they are very well-bred horses,” Weir said.
“Both horses (Brave Smash and Tosen Stardom) have now done it and while it’s a huge thrill, it’s also a huge relief as well.”
After a luckless run behind Hartnell in the Orr a fortnight ago, jockey Craig Williams was keen to ensure the five-year-old was given every chance of victory on Saturday and was noticeably positive from barrier nine to take up a forward position behind leader Showtime.
While there were a few nervous moments for connections at the top of the straight, Williams drove Brave Smash ($4.80) through a gap at the 200m mark and he quickly put a length on Tosen Stardom ($6), with three-year-old Showtime ($7) sticking on well for third.
“He put the writing on the wall last start and he’s carried that form here today,” Weir said.
“What happened last start was just something that happens in racing, Johnny (Allen) was following the right horse and then Hartnell came under pressure so he decided to come off its back and as soon as he did, Hartnell went so had he stayed on Hartnell’s back he might’ve challenged him.
“We felt we had the horse in the right order so he just needed luck from the barrier and he got a great ride from Craig.”
Weir confirmed both Brave Smash and Tosen Stardom, as well as eye-catching fourth Humidor, would progress to the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on March 17th before travelling to Sydney for The Championships.
“He (Brave Smash) will run a mile, a mile will be even better,” Weir said.
“And Humidor is going great, I thought his was a terrific run looking forward.
“They’re all on the same path at the moment, they’ll head to the Blamey next and then up to Sydney for the Doncaster.”