By Isaac Murphy
Rockford lines up for the Grade 5 Fifth at Albion Park tonight as the odds-on pop and trainer Glenn Smith believes his charge is as good a chance as any after a promising return from a spell.
The two-and-a-half-year-old has amassed an impressive record winning eleven of his twenty three starts including seven at the track and distance.
But it’s current form that counts and his last start second behind Magic Hornet who clocked 29.74, was a strong indication the sprinter was getting back to his best, according to Smith.
“Extremely happy with the run no problem at all, there was a chance he could have been well short of a gallop and apart from fading a little bit late he ran good time," Smith said.
“To see him come from box eight, off the bunny that far and still give one hundred percent was really pleasing, so hopefully the run has toughened him up alright and he’s drawn reasonable tonight, so I’m hopeful of a better showing.”
Although buoyant about Rockford’s chances from the three tonight, Smith is wary of inconsistent starts costing his dog.
“He’s very dicey with box draws, he goes alright with the pink, three is about as far out as he wants to be, he’s a desperate railer,” he said.
“He’s a dog that never comes out really well but he’ll be looking for a passage through on the inside and if he gets it he’ll be a threat.”
Smith said he had resisted the allure of the bigger races in Sydney at this stage of Rockford’s career instead concentrated on getting his dog healthy while honing his craft at Albion.
“We won’t go far away from Albion at this stage, we’ve chosen to stay away from those big races in Sydney with the ordinary beginnings he makes it very tough on himself,” Smith said.
“He’s had a couple of issues and we’ve never been the type to put them round twice a week so whenever he’s told us he needed a little break we oblige.”
The Smith kennel is far from a one dog operation, with both of Rockford’s brothers Pittsburgh Phil who also races tonight and Exponential both displaying talent.
“Pittsburgh Phil is in tonight, he’s been desperately unlucky with about seven box sevens’ and a box five tonight,” Smith said.
“He’s got a lot of ability too, we’ve just got to hope he can find that clear running because he’ll finish off strong.
“I think Pittsburgh Phil has only been out of a place once at Albion Park but he hasn’t won a lot.”
Exponential holds the best record of the brothers after an explosive start to his career, but similar habits have halted his progress of late.
“Exponential won his first six races and he’s won nine out of fourteen now so even though he’s given us a bit of trouble now he’s pretty talented,” Smith said.
“We’ve got a maiden who won on Monday Night, Oxley One he’s been going alright he’s put a couple of second’s together and now he’s won, so he’ll be headed to a Novice on Thursday night hopefully he’s up to it.”
With the brothers firing Smith has the kennel firing and with some young one’s at home the next generation is no far behind.
“We’ve bred a litter from Spring Green, we’ve sold three and got three here, we’ve got some Thirty Talks pups who are due to be broken in next month, we’ve definitely got our hands full.”