Against the odds, Alison Smith's superstar sprinter Absolute Ripper continued her love affair with Towac Park on Friday afternoon and maintained her stunning first-up record too, scoring an impressive win in the $35,000 Central West Trailers Cup Day Showcase Sprint (1000 metres).
Smith admitted she wasn't entirely confident leading into the second-biggest event of Racing Orange's showcase meeting, considering her six-year-old had no race fitness, was bigger than she's ever been and was facing a red-hot field of short-distance stars.
None of that mattered though as Absolute Ripper ($6) rolled to her seventh career win by more than a length despite, as hoop Anthony Cavallo said, "probably running out of gas a bit at the 100 mark".
She was leading by two-and-a-half lengths by then and the result wasn't in doubt, so Cavallo let her up a bit and let her cruise past the post.
Incredibly from five first-up starts the big mare's now scored two wins and two second finishes, and it was her third win from four starts at her home track too. She finished second in the other.
"She's a quality horse, she's a quality mare, she really is an absolute ripper," Smith smiled after Racing Orange executive officer Bree McMinn presented her the showcase sprint trophy.
"I know she loves this track but to be perfectly honest she's bigger than I've ever had her going in and I thought maybe she might need a run.
If she'd had a run under her belt I'd have been a lot more confident but I was wrong, she's proved me wrong.
"A lot of those others had race fitness on their side and she's gone in without even having a trial, and Jake Pracey-Holmes said to me "she's broken my horse's heart". He was on the leader, so I'm pretty ecstatic."
Pracey-Holmes was on Just a Bullet - a crowd favourite considering he's a big grey - which skipped to the lead early after jumping well alongside $2.25 favourite Latin Boy.
Being a known leader is was only a matter of time before Absolute Ripper pushed to the front of the field though, or close to it.
Smith's six-year-old shifted to the outside of Just a Bullet to try and find that lead before eventually doing so at the top of the straight and from there, simply, the result wasn't in doubt.
She began her surge just off the bend to skip well ahead and force the remainder of the field into a battle for the minor placings, which Latin Boy and Garry White's And So It Goes ($4.40) - another which loves Towac Park - filled out.
"She's a good mare, very good. We've been working together for a while now," Cavallo said.
"She probably ran out of gas a bit about 100 from home but she'd done enough by then, she loves this track doesn't she?".
The victory was Smith's first since Audio Bay saluted at Wellington in mid-January, and came just a month after she was hospitalised with a broken nose and a fractured eye socket after being kicked by one of her charges.
Naturally Absolute Ripper's win gave her plenty of reason to smile amid her recovery, which she confirmed is going well.
"I'm getting there, little Panuara kicked me but everything's healing well. I've still got a few numb teeth but I'm okay," she said.
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