Winter Stakes: Matthew Smith hopeful Tricky Gal can claim a deserved stakes victory

Matthew Smith is confident the day is coming when Tricky Gal finally gets that deserved stakes win next to her name.

It might just be at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Tricky Gal has been runner-up in six stakes races this season but gets her chance for a breakthrough big-race win in the Listed $150,000 Drinkwise Winter Stakes (1400m).

Smith has watching on with a mixture of frustrating and admiration as Tricky Gal has finished second in the Group 2 Hot Danish Stakes and Guy Walter Stakes, Group 3 Triscay Stakes, Summoned Stakes and Birthday Card Stakes, and Listed Civic Stakes.

In four of these races, Tricky Gal has been beaten by less than a length and the difference in prizemoney between winning and running second in these six stakes races is nearly $500,000.

But Smith is keeping the faith in Tricky Gal and suggests punters should, too.

“Tricky Gal has been super this season and one day it will fall into place for her,” Smith said.

“I’m hoping it is the Winter Stakes. The wet track won’t bother her and she is fit and well.”

In overnight TAB fixed odds betting, Tricky Gal is at $10 behind Victorian mare and noted mudlark Rubisaki at $3.90 favouritism.

Tricky Gal goes to Randwick after beating all but Bandersnatch (True Detective third) in the Civic Stakes at Rosehill.

The three placegetters from that race are clashing again in the Winter Stakes.

“This race has a bit of depth, it looks harder than last time,” Smith said.

“But I can’t fault her, she is going great and I would love to see her win a stakes race.”

Trainer Matthew Smith has a couple of good chances at Randwick including Tricky Gal. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Smith has four entries for the Randwick meeting including emerging import Ashim in the Midway Handicap (1300m).

Ashim, the winner of two races up to 1600m from seven starts in France, made a favourable impression at his Australian debut when fourth to Papal Warrior at Rosehill three weeks ago.

Smith then sent Ashim back to the trials where the gelding ran a close third to speedy types Best Stone and Spaceboy at Canterbury.

“I thought Ashim was good first-up,” Smith said.

“He’s still getting the swing of Australian racing, he’s in that early phase and will improve a lot in his second preparation but he’s showing some promising signs.”

Koonunga (left) doesn’t want it too wet to produce her best. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Smith also saddles up another former French galloper, Montabot in the Schweppes Handicap (2000m).

Montabot won three of his five starts in France at distances from 2100m to 2400m and understandably was run off of his legs when making his debut for the Smith stable when he was tailed off behind Oscar Zulu at Rosehill three weeks ago.

“I ran him in a race that was too short for him the other day but I wanted to get him started,” Smith said.

“The 2000m at Randwick will be better for him as overseas he raced on speed in races at 2400m and 2800m.

“They might be a bit sharp for him still but if he can run in the first half dozen then that will good. The wet track helps as it might slow down some of the others.”

Smith has Koonunga entered for the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1100m) but admitted he doesn’t want the track to be “too wet” for the mare who has been unplaced in each of her three heavy track starts.

■ Former top Japanese galloper Keiai Nautique, the full-brother to three-time Group 1 winner Fierce Impact, made his first public appearance in Australian racing when he ran seventh in a Randwick barrier trial on Friday but he was noticeably very strong through the line.

Smith has taken over the training of Keiai Nautique, a Group 1 winner over 1600m in Japan, and says the six-year-old is settling in well since arriving at his Warwick Farm stables.

He also trained Fierce Impact to win the 2019 Toorak Handicap and Cantala Stakes, and 2020 Makybe Diva Stakes over 1600m.

From the Golden Slipper to the championships, Sky News takes a look back at the wonder of the Autumn Racing Carnival….

From the Golden Slipper to the championships, Sky News takes a look back at the wonder of the Autumn Racing Carnival.

Originally published asTricky Gal can shake off stakes curse

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