Go with Cruz for Smart choice

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2002, 12:00am

Derek Cruz's Valley specialist Smart Winner can maintain his unbeaten record at the city venue by landing the competitive finale on the midweek card. The edgy sort was withdrawn on his last intended start when he was fractious in the stalls and has since injured his trainer in a trackwork incident, but he can atone tonight providing he stays in the right frame of mind.

The talented son of Ideal Planet has won all three of his outings at Happy Valley over 1,200 metres and, while he steps back to the minimum 1,000 metres, he does possess enough early dash to prove highly competitive. Steven King has enjoyed a good association with the talented sort and should get the run of the race from a good barrier.

Grandioso has been a shade disappointing this term but has been running with enough merit to suggest he could figure in the finish. He has won his only start over course and distance and moved quite well in a recent barrier trial.

Expedient showed a little improvement on his last start when 2.5 lengths behind Tenacity over course and distance and would have claims to make the frame based on that effort. He has dropped quite a long way in the handicap and could prove hard to catch out on the lead.

Four of the 11 runners are making their debuts, which does make the race a little tricky to assess. Fantasy is the highest rated of the newcomers and the son of Honour And Glory has moved quite well in his trials and work. His Australian form is over the sprint distances and he has had a decent preparation for this event.

Corajoso has had just one trial, which was only fair, and he looks to have had a slightly more rushed preparation. In assessing his Australian form, he would also arguably prefer a shade further and he may improve in fitness on this outing.

King Lion finished well back in the field in his only trial and based on his performances in his native South Africa he is going to need further to show his best. He also looks in need of this outing.

Nice And Easy moved well enough in his trial back in November and he did win over 1,100 metres in Australia, which suggests he should be suited by tonight's distance. He looks a decent sort and should be kept safe in all multiples.

Of the remainder, Stylish has failed to make the frame on three attempts over course and distance and, while he handles the Valley, there is no doubt he would prefer a shade further.

Success Magic faded rather tamely on his last start, when there appeared to be no valid excuses, but would certainly be rated a good chance on his better form as he is a multiple winner over course and distance. He should be kept safe.

Bullish is likely to get too much pressure in the lead with Expedient involved, which will severely hinder his chances, while The King Of Cloyne is not showing enough to warrant inclusion.

Graphic: H1000grc