By Glenn Davis
Craig Smith has been an icon in the training ranks in south-west Queensland’s Roma region for the past 35 years and he loves nothing more than winning a hometown feature.
Smith, 55, has a stable of 28 in work on the sand track at Roma and has won the town’s main feature, the Roma Cup, three times.
Smith will get another chance to claim a home town win with his third throw at the stumps to claim the TAB Race To Roma Final (1200m) at Bassett Park on Saturday.
The Race To Roma Final is part of the Fillies And Families race day in Roma and is only the second TAB meeting held this season by the Roma Turf Club.
Smith has qualified three horses, Palace Tycoon, Dawn Fighter and Potemkin for the Race To Roma Final which will be run over 1640 metres.
“I’ve won the Roma Cup three times and it’s a big thrill to win a feature like that in your hometown,” Smith said.
“I’m yet to win this race but I ran second in it two years ago with Fast Fella and Dawn Fighter ran sixth last year.
“This is our third throw at the stumps to win this race and hopefully we can win it this year.”
Smith rates Potemkin as his leading chance in the country feature despite the five-year-old finishing last in a field of seven in a Benchmark 70 race at Dalby on July 11.
“He’s been carrying some big weights lately and he’s on the minimum this time,” Smith said.
“It was a muddling run race when he was beaten at Dalby so I’m overlooking that run and he’ll appreciate the big weight drop as he’s been carrying weights around 60kgs previously.
“He’s a big horse who can carry big weights but he’s never been on the minimum before.”
Smith was not ruling out the chances of Palace Tycoon or Dawn Fighter who have been racing consistently.
Palace Tycoon is coming off a last start second in a 1600-metre Open at St. George while Dawn Fighter won at Roma three starts back and was a last start fifth to Fab’s Cowboy in an Open Plate (1200m) at Roma on July 13.
“Palace Tycoon was a run short last start when he loomed up to win at St George and Dawn Fighter has been very consistent and is looking for 1600 metres,” he said.
Racing Queensland webnews July 26