‘Promising horse’ Smuggler’s Bay returns at Orange

Kayla Nisbet (red cap and light blue silks) aboard Smuggler’s Bay at Bathurst. Photo: Racing Photography.

‘Times don’t lie,’ is what John Nisbet had to say when asked how Smuggler’s Bay was going ahead of his much-anticipated return to racing at Orange on Tuesday. 

“He is going good; he has always been able to run,” Nisbet said.

“A mare we had called Perizada is probably the quickest we ever had, and he is getting down to her times now, and times don’t lie.

“Just on those times he can carve out on the track, we know he is very fast.”

The John Nisbet and Ron Weston trained galloper only raced three times in his first preparation, boulting in for good wins over the 1000m at Wagga and Albury in May before finishing second at Bathurst over the 1100m back in June. 

Since setting the track alight, Smuggler’s Bay hasn’t been seen for 18 weeks, and Nisbet said the Squamosa gelding had matured ahead of his second preparation, and he believed punters would see a more relaxed sprinter in action.

“He has sometimes overdone it in his work and in one of his races, but this time in, he is galloping more relaxed,” Nisbet said.

“We just hope he can learn how to harness everything and do it on race day.”

Orange is currently rated a soft six ahead of their seven-race Tuesday meeting, and the four-year-old is set to contest a nippy little 1000m Class Three Handicap, and while Nisbet was confident of a strong showing, he said he was hoping the track would continue to dry out.

“He definitely is a good chance because he is a really promising horse,” Nisbet said.

“We would prefer to be on top of the ground. They are having a really nice day today, so hopefully it improves before tomorrow.”

Nisbet and Weston have Smuggler’s Bay primed for a good first-up run, with the sprinter heading into the race with a three-month foundation of work behind him. 

“He would have been in work for nearly 12 weeks now,” Nisbet said.

“He has had a 400m and 800m jump out. He hasn’t cleaned up in the coat yet, but if he didn’t get through the ground or didn’t run well, we wouldn’t be blaming his fitness.”

John Nisbet’s daughter, Kayla Nisbet, will again ride the smart sprinter, having guided him in every race and trial during his short but successful career. 

“Kayla trialled him both times, and me and her share the track work on him and she knows him back to front and she really likes him,” Nisbet said.

As far as what the future holds for Smuggler’s Bay, connections weren’t getting ahead of themselves, instead focusing on the task at hand.

“It is run-by-run right now, and we will just see how he comes up after Orange,” Nisbet said.

“He will have to come up and improve. Because of those wins, he got up in the weights quite quickly, and being a gelding, he will be up in the weights and really, he needs to be winning these races.

“If he keeps going, he will probably have to progress to the provincials and maybe end up in midweek races.”

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