Todd Smart eyes Kosciuszko riches for Kelvedon Road

Billy Owen aboard the Todd Smart-trained Kelvedon Road. Photo: Thoroughbred Park.

The allure of $2 million in prizemoney and the chance to race in The Kosciuszko is too hard to pass up for Todd Smart, with the Canberra trainer setting Kelvedon Road for the October feature.

The Kosciuszko is the world’s richest race for country-trained horses, and every horse in the race is nominated by a winner of the Kosciuszko sweepstakes who share in the prizemoney of their nominated horse. 

Getting chosen as one of the 14 horses by the punting public is the hardest task, but Smart believes his four-year-old helped his chances at Canberra on Friday when taking out the TAB Federal 1200m Benchmark 70 Handicap.

First-up from an 18-week spell, Brungle product Billy Owen was in the saddle, and in heavy 10 conditions, it took Owen’s good judgement on the home straight, along with Kelvedon Road’s ($2.45) class to win the race by 0.62 of a length from Exotic Deel ($5.50), while 0.89 of a length off the winner in third was Easy Rosie ($4.80).

“It was a good win, and especially coming off just one trial, and on a genuine heavy 10 at Canberra,” Smart said. 

“He was a bit slow out, but was quick enough to muster, and Billy elected to go inside, and it was the right move, and we were able to win.”

In a good sign for Smart and connections, punters have since rallied behind Kelvedon Road, backing him in from 50/1 to 15/1 to win The Kosciuszko with the TAB, and Smart hopes that a ticket will be won locally.

“He has come in from 50s into 15s to win the Kozzy (The Kosciuszko) with the TAB after that win, so they must think something of him,” Smart said. 

“It would be such a thrill if people in Gundagai and Tumut get in and buy tickets and pick him, and we would definitely be happy to have a good chat and make it a good experience for owners and ticket holders if he is picked.

“Either way, we will have him ready to go as if he was to get a start in the race and if we are fortunate enough to get a ticket, I think he can run a big race.”

For the moment, Smart will focus on Kelvedon Road’s next assignment, with the 11-start veteran set to chase win number five in town. 

“He will gallop on Friday (today), and he is nominated for a (Benchmark) 72 over 1300m next Wednesday at Warwick Farm, and a (Benchmark) 78 over 1200m at Randwick the following Saturday,” Smart said. 

“We will see how he comes on from his work and if we are happy enough, we will go to one of those two races.

“We think that a mid-week city race is the right stepping-stone, and hopefully his class can shine through, and people can get a real idea of how good he is.”

As The Kosciuszko nears closer, with ticket holders drawn out on September 9, Kelvedon Road will hope to keep up his winning form, especially because he is a versatile horse that can win in any conditions. 

“He is that kind of horse that can run on a very heavy 10, and on a good track,” Smart said. 

“He is versatile, adaptable, and I think it is important to have a horse like that in a race like that, as anything can happen.”