Winning debut, but bigger Impact expected
You know a trainer has a big opinion of a horse when, despite winning on debut in the city, they sound flat in the post-race interview.
That was scenario with Robert Smerdon after the $27,000 Sheamus Mills Bloodstock Plate that kicked off Wednesday's Sandown program.
The Caulfield horseman had just seen Street Cry filly Street Impact score a fighting win in a thrilling three-horse finish to the 1200-metre event, but not in the fashion he might have expected.
"We'll always accept a win, but I think she's a lot better than what we saw here," Smerdon said.
"I think there's more to come once she gets more confident in what she's doing.
"That was probably one of the few times she's had to come under pressure, but to see her win narrowly is a relief but I thought she'd win clearly.
"Today's a good start point, a good outcome, but we've seen a lot more than that and I think there's a lot more to come."
Street Impact, who went up $3.50 when markets were first posted on Monday before starting the $1.65 favourite, got home by a head from Quik Nu Chik ($10), with the fast-finishing Trojan Storm ($8) a short-half-head back third.
Craig Williams echoed Smerdon's thoughts, suggesting she would benefit greatly from her first trip to the races.
"Even though the margin probably wasn't as decisive as what we thought going into it, she's going to derive a lot from today's experience," he said.
"She's a nice horse with a nice motor for the future."
Williams would have been satisfied with victory, no matter the result, as it edged him back within three of Beau Mertens - who rode runner-up Quik Nu Chik - in the race for the Victorian Metropolitan Jockeys' Premiership.
The five-time Roy Higgins Medallist closed the gap to two when he guided Sea The Sparkle to his 69th city winner of the season in the third event.
Mertens went winless, his best result his second placing aboard Quik Nu Chik, and both riders have large books of rides at Saturday's Sir John Monash Stakes meeting at Caulfield, which is the fifth-last metro meeting of the season.