By Duane Ranger
Cobbity Trainer, Craig Cross, believes the Kylie Rasmussen trained and driven Smart As Camm Be has Saturday’s $21,000 Redcliffe Oaks for 3yo pacing fillies at her mercy.
“She’s a very smart horse, and not the current Queensland 2yo Pacing Filly-of-the-Year for nothing. She has almost colt-like features. In fact I’d rate her the second best pacer in Queensland behind Colt Thirty One. It’s hard to see her losing.
“Of course I’d like to win and anything can happen in horse racing, but someone has got to run second and I don’t mind being runner-up to a good one,” Cross said.
Those comments were made in spite of Cross’s pacer, Senora Rapido, having won four of his five New South Wales starts since relocating from New Zealand in March. The Art Major filly has also drawn one inside Smart As Camm Be (5).
“Kylie knows how to win Oaks races and also knows Redcliffe very well. Smart As Camm Be has also won 11 races. We will know we’ve been in a race. Chris (Geary) is driving my filly for the first time,” Cross said.
“She is very capable and can get some of this, if not the Queensland Derby as well,” the 56-year-old added.
Cross is no stranger coming to Queensland and taking home the spoils, but is yet to win a Redcliffe Oaks. The last two years he’s nailed the QBRED Triad 2&3-year-old Group events with First String.
“Luke McCarthy drove First String to win his latest TRIAD at Albion Park in April. He’s driving him again at Menangle on Saturday in the NSW Breeders Challenge semi Final.
“He (First String) might join some of my team here later in the Winter. Queenslander, Joe Taaffe is bringing Senora Rapido to Stephen Cini and Cristina Monte’s Alberton barn today (Thursday),” said Cross, who works a team of 35 in NSW.
He said Senora Rapido had the breeding to make a nice pacer.
“She is out of a Presidential Ball mare (Eyre To The Throne) who won three of her five starts and left a good Mach Three filly, who won a lot of races.”
That filly was Senora Rapido’s older half-sister, Kate’s First, who was a Group Two winner, who won 21 of her 60 starts ($341,723), and also paced a 1:50.3 mile.
Senora Rapido’s quickest mile rate to date came when wining at Penrith on May 2 in 1:56.5. That’s 0.9 of a second slower that what Smart As Camm Be recorded in her 2yo TRIAD final last July.
That was Smart As Camm Be’s last race as a 2-year-old. Since then she has won five of her eight starts this season. Up until her last start seventh n the Victoria Oaks Smart As Camm Be had won her last six races in a row.
And the gifted daughter of Cammibest signaled a big warning to her 10 Redcliffe Oaks opponents at the Albion Park Trials on Tuesday when recording her fastest ever mile rate.
Rasmussen drove her to a head victory over Lincolns Girl, pacing the 1,660m mobile in 1:58.3 with a 1:54.7 mile rate. Her sectionals were 28.5, and 29.8, 28.7, and 27.8.
Australia’s top trainer, Grant Dixon, must also be taken seriously in Saturday’s 2,040m mobile.
The Tamborine horseman has three in the Oaks. They are the Dixon drive last start winner, For All We Know (1), the ultra-consistent Adam Sanderson drive Eternal Promise (2); and the Paul Diebert driven Ark Me (8), who follows out Eternal Promise.