Turning 30 can be daunting for some, but for Mikayla Weir, it was just another day at the office as she travelled to Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, adding another metropolitan win to her impressive resume.
Teaming up with Gulgong trainer Brett Thompson, Weir jumped aboard Smart and Dapper in the first of the 1100m Class Three Highway Handicaps, and it was an classy win.
Jumping from gate nine, the four-year-old was only moderately away, and Weir was forced to let him roll three deep and mostly without cover.
Despite covering the most ground and getting through some work, Smart and Dapper ($16) finished strongly.
They won with the bob of the head when beating home the Anthony Warren-trained Feel The Knight (Olivia Chambers, $31), while nearly two lengths away in third was the Terry Robinson-trained Tai Lung (Tommy Sherry, $10).
“He was brave,” Weir said.
“The plan was to lead, but we couldn’t; he was too slow away, so I just had to opt to come back and try and find a bit of cover, and we had cover momentarily, but you just can’t fight him.
“He’s just the type of horse you have to let him be, so I just let him travel around the outside of them; he put himself into the race and was strong late.”
A four-time winner in just 13 starts, Smart and Dapper has some ability.
He had also been knocking on the door of a win in town.
Weir rode the Smart Missile gelding to his maiden victory at Coonamble in late 2022, so she knew exactly what to expect on Saturday.
“I have won a race on him and rode him quite a few times,” Weir said.
“That’s why Brett had me on him today; he said, ‘You know him, try and lead, and if you can’t, you’re just going to have to deal with him.”
It was a tight finish, but Thompson knew the pair had won, and he was thrilled to snatch another win in town.
“We were up the top on the grandstand, the three of us there; we got the bob in,” Thompson said.
“I’m really happy for Roger and Nerida (Atkinson); they are terrific owners, and I was just talking to them about 20 minutes ago and told them that he travelled well and settled in last night really well, and I said, ‘With any luck and if we get forward, he’ll be winning’.
“We were very confident; he can gallop this horse, but he just does a few things wrong.
“He misses the start and gets back, and even today, he sat three deep and really didn’t have any cover, and he was really strong to the line.”
Smart and Dapper is undoubtedly above average, but Thompson has some decisions to make.
“I will take him home, rest him up, and probably come back to a mid-weeker,” he said.
“I don’t think he is a 1400m horse; I think he is an 1100-1200m horse. He might even go out for a bit of a rest now.
“It’s been really hot, and he’s had eight starts this preparation, so we’ll just take our time because we know he can gallop and look after him.”
Dale and Williams send punters to the Penthouse
Goulburn pair Matthew Dale and Hannah Williams combined to get one of the best bets home on Saturday’s Rosehill Gardens program, with Penthouse taking out the second of the 1100m Class Three Highway Handicaps.
Commencing the very well-supported $1.65 favourite, Penthouse jumped well enough from the inside before Williams dug her out to lead comfortably.
The Goulburn galloper then made every post a winner, cruising to a comfortable one-and-threequarters lengths win from the Brett Dodson-trained Swift Charm (Andrew Akins, $14) in second and the Brett Thompson-trained Blow Dart (Regan Bayliss, $9) in third.
Penthouse has been the ultimate Highway horse, winning three country-restricted events since breaking her maiden at Canberra in early 2022.
Incredibly, his earnings are now up to $257,000, winning four times in 12 starts.