The Everest remains the major 2017 Spring Racing Carnival target Brave Smash for after he recorded a maiden race win in Australia in the Bendigo Bank Stakes at The Valley this afternoon.
Brave Smash went into the Bendigo Bank Stakes as an odds-on favourite following unlucky second in the Regal Roller Stakes and jockey Damian Lane was quick to ensure that there would be no repeats of that this afternoon.
Lane asked Brave Smash to do plenty of work early to settle in the first half of the field, but he was still able to respond quickly when asked for an extra effort and he put away his rivals at the top of the straight.
Brave Smash did clearly tire in the final 100 metres of the race, but Lane believes that he was entitled to after working hard early and he believes that the Japanese galloper still has plenty of improvement left in him.
“I had to use him up a bit early and that did leave him a bit vulnerable late,” Lane said.
“I thought after I rode him first-up (in the Regal Roller Stakes) I might not get on his back again, so I’m thankful to Australian Bloodstock for sticking with me.
“He is still on the way up and I think that he will have more to give as he gets further into his campaign.”
Trainer Darren Weir admitted that he would have liked to see Brave Smash hit the line a bit stronger in the Bendigo Park Stakes, but he confirmed that earning a start in The Everest remains the major 2017 Spring Racing Carnival goal for the Australian Bloodstock-owned galloper.
“He (Damian Lane) rode him like his price suggested I suppose,” Weir said.
“I wold have liked to see him run through the line and run away from them a little bit better.
“Anyway he won and you can’t do much more than that I guess.”
“We still know there is quite a lot to come, he is very well in himself and we are a fair way off at being at the bottom of him and I am sure he will improve.
“We had him well enough for today for him to take natural improvement and now we might be able to really screw him down if he happens to get a slot (in The Everest).”
Santa Ana Lane stormed home down the outside to finish second, while Keen Array worked home nicely after being set too big a task.