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Smith searching for NQ Winter Racing Carnival winners

cb663a12-3269-4482-896f-bc3b747b1bbe.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans 

After almost a year of living in the Sunshine State, Denicious Smith would like nothing more than winning a big feature race across the 2021 TAB Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.

The South African product gets his chance over the next two days at his adopted home track of Townsville’s Cluden Park, before heading further north to Cairns’ Cannon Park later in this month and into September.

A former champion apprentice in South Africa in 1999-2000, before riding in Kuwait, Bahrain and Dubai, Smith relocated to Townsville in late 2020 to search for more riding opportunities after a stint in Victoria.

The 41-year-old has found those chances around North Queensland, a regular at Cairns, Mackay and Townsville, as well as working hard on the non-TAB scene, as well.

In his time in Townsville, Smith doubled his number of winners from the previous two seasons down south, with opportunities coming from local trainers such as Tony Comerford, Tom Button, Michael Mclellan, Sarah Acornley and Carl Spry.

“It has been great, I am thankful for the support from everybody, the owners and the trainers up here,” Smith said.

“I have been getting support from many trainers.

“It has been overall great and it is a beautiful town and I am pretty happy.”

While last season’s results were much better than what he had ever produced in Australia before, the experienced hoop believes there is still room for improvement and would like for that to start this weekend on the big stage of NQ racing.

49251b25-927b-405e-9c2f-e13105b2ad79.jpg“I would not say I am overly impressed with my results so far, I could have done better,” Smith said.

“A lot of it was trying to find my way around the north.

“Now that we are this time of the year, it would be great to salute on one of the big ones and have your name up there, it puts you up nicely ahead of the new season.

“You work on from there, it would be nice to salute in a Cup or sprint race over the rest of the carnival.”

In this weekend’s features, Smith partners Cluden Park specialist Space Time in the Cleveland Bay Handicap and Stubai in the Townsville Cup.

From the strong stable of the Ryan team on the Tablelands, veteran gelding Space Time is getting on in age and has not been in the best form of late, but he still boasts nine wins and 13 minor placings at the track across his career.

“Unfortunately, we have drawn in the sticks, but we will just have to work it out from there and I will just ride as close to the instructions as possible,” Smith said of his Cup ride Stubai.

“We are badly drawn but if everything goes our way, I think we have a big, big chance in a race like that.

“Space Time, he is a course specialist, and let’s hope he brings his best game to the races on Saturday.

“He is the type of horse that can be competitive on the big stage.

“We are hoping for a big run.”

Smith also has one of his favourite gallopers, Deadly Diva for Comerford, who he describes as a “lovely girl”, in the brand-new Magic Millions Townsville Guineas QTIS 4YO Handicap, a race worth $50,000.

Mare Deadly Diva broke her maiden status at $101 with the TAB earlier this year with Smith in the saddle.

Before moving to Queensland, Smith consulted fellow African exports Jeff Lloyd, Robbie Fradd and Marnu Potgieter – who also have made the leap to the Sunshine State – about the riding scene.

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