By Alex Nolan
Roma trainer Craig Smith could play both hero and villain in the same story as Birdsville Race Club president David Brook attempts to complete a rare owner-breeder treble in the outback this weekend.
Brook, the man credited with making the Birdsville races the event it is today, will have three horses he bred from the same mare, Rustic Rossa, attempting to win over the two days.
Smith will saddle up two of the half siblings in De Losko (Race 1) and Rooi Roe (Race 6) on Friday, with Adelaide trainer Phillip Stokes to saddle Birdsville Cup hopeful Boggoms on Saturday.
Although Smith admitted it would be a great feat if all three were able to win, he will be out to spoil the party and claim a third Birdsville Cup with Palace Tycoon, following previous wins in 2017 (Fast Fella) and Dancefloor Prodigy (2012).
UBET installed Palace Tycoon ($7.50) on the third line of betting when fixed-odds opened on Wednesday.
“That is about the right price, I think he’s a good each-way chance,” Smith said.
“He should handle running this way (anti-clockwise) and he should handle the dirt … The 1300m was a bit short for him at Toowoomba the other day.”
De Losko will line up in the QTIS Maiden Plate (1.20pm) on Friday, after debuting in the same event a year ago.
“Unfortunately, he’s drawn 11 of 11 but he’s only been lightly raced and will race well fresh,” Smith said.
City winner Rooi Roe also returns to race in the Open Handicap (4.25pm) at Birdsville after being pipped on the line when first-up at the meeting in 2017.
“She was underdone when she got beat a nose last year but she comes here after running second in Brisbane (behind Prue’s Angel) last start,” Smith said.
“The 1200m is as far as she wants and she’s up against Battle of the Bush runner-up Bush Caviar (64.5kg). But, we do get a big weight pull on him.”
Smith has been travelling to Birdsville since 2003. He and his team of staff and nine horses completed the 1100km journey from Roma on Tuesday.