Washington Towers (Nick Heywood, $6) will jump from gate two in the $35,000 Cooper’s Brewery Cup Showcase Sprint (1010m), while Loose Love (Mitchell Bell, $4.40) will start as one of, if not the favourite when commencing from gate five in the $50,000 Pirtek Orange Country Magic Benchmark 58 Handicap (1610m).
“Both are massive chances,” Smart said.
“You have got to have a gate at Orange; we’ll get a wet track, we have good jockeys, and that is a good recipe for success.”
The Orange Sprint has attracted a good field of runners, while Washington Towers has been lobbed with the top weight of 61.5kg.
“He’s been carrying heavier weights all his career,” Smart said.
“He’s raced in town and is coming back to country grade; he’s working well, and I expect him to win again nearly.”
The eight-time winner has been racing in good form, finishing second to subsequent city Delacour in the $80,000 Quality Sprint (1000m) at Canberra two starts back before running second in the $50,000 Wellington Town Plate late last month.
“The only difference is that we haven’t got Billy Owen to ride him, but Nick Heywood is just as good a jockey, and he will do the job,” Smart said.
“He gets the good barrier, and there is a bit of pace out wide, but he is every chance of leading, and if not, we’ll sit just off them, and he always runs a very honest race, and I’m going in confident that he is ready to win.”
Orange was rated a soft seven at the time of publishing. However, with more rain on the radar, they could be racing on a heavy surface, which won’t bother the Canberra galloper, which has a good record on the soft (10:3-1-0) and a terrific record on heavy tracks (6:3-0-0).
“I think he is far better on a heavy track, and not many horses get through the wet as he does,” Smart said.
“It’s a soft seven now, and I think with the predicted weather, it could get to a heavy, and if it does, he will be hard to beat.”
Loose Love is another one of Smart gallopers that can handle both soft (10-1-3-1) and heavy (1:1-0-0) tracks, and he too looks to be building towards another win after recent placings at Canberra and Albury.
“I think he gets through all surfaces, but he is better on a wet track,” Smart said.
“He is racing really well, and we’ve got Mitchell Bell riding him, he gets a good barrier, and it’s the right distance, and I think he will be tough to beat.”
Smart does have Washington Towers entered to race at Hawkesbury on Thursday, and Loose Love engaged to race at Canberra on Friday, but he believes he will go to Orange if the weather plays out as expected.
“There would have to be favourite runners coming out of tomorrow (at Hawkesbury) for me to go there, but it looks an excellent race at Orange, and that’s the way we are leaning,” Smart said.
A born and bred Gundagai boy, Smart will also race at his home track on Sunday, with last-start winner Tyrol engaged in the 1800m Class One Handicap, and he’s looking forward to the bargain-price purchase stepping out over nine furlongs.
“He won the 1600m Maiden at Moruya last start, and he’s up in class and up to 1800m, but it’s not the strongest race,” Smart said.
“He is backing up, so we’ll see how he goes, but we’ll have some fun with him.
“He was a $400,000 yearling, and we bought him online for $9000 as a 15-start maiden.”
It shapes to be a big few days for Smart and a massive day at Orange on Friday for the running of the time-honoured $75,000 Orange Motor Group Orange Cup and Big Dance qualifier.
On Sunday, the $36,000 XXXX Gold Gundagai Cup takes centre stage for another big eight-race program.
For fields at Orange, click here.
For Gundagai’s nominations, click here.